Chester Hollman of Philadelphia has spent the last 28 years in prison for a murder he did not commit but is suddenly now a free man.
Hollman will be exonerated on his charges thanks to a key trial witness admitting she falsely implicated him in 1993.
CBS Philly spoke with Hollman just hours after his release, where he expressed that he is a little afraid of all the changes on the outside but most of all, he’s happy to finally be out.
“I don’t think it’s really hit me yet still. Just this morning, I learned that this was happening. I’m still a little in shock, disbelief,” Hollman said. “Knowing that you’re in prison for something that you didn’t do and trying to convince people that you’re not lying, your innocence is true, it’s real, it’s an uphill battle,” he said.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Hollman was convicted of killing of University of Pennsylvania student Tae-Jung Ho near Rittenhouse Square in 1991, but the district attorney’s office said authorities had evidence that pointed to other suspects at the time.
Hollman was reportedly arrested after a cab driver heard gunshots in the area and called police with a tip on a white SUV and a partial license plate number. The key witness in Hollman’s trial was a neighbor who testified that she had been riding with Hollman and two others when she saw two of them get out of the car and heard a gunshot.
However, in 2012, the neighbor testified that her original statements were coerced. The now-retired police detective who took the neighbor’s testimony has denied it was coerced.
Patricia Cummings, supervisor of the District Attorney’s Office Conviction Integrity Unit, said, “It was pretty clear to us that unfortunately the police department and the district attorney’s office actually had evidence in their possession back at the time of trial. Had they disclosed that to the defense like they’re constitutionally and ethically required to do, Mr. Hollman might not have ever stood trial, quite frankly.”
Hollman will be back in court on July 30 where his charges will be formally withdrawn.
Welcome home Chester Hollman!????