Wrongly Convicted Man Trying To Rebuild Life After Exoneration

Wrongly Convicted Man Trying To Rebuild Life After Exoneration

CREATED Jun 17, 2014
COLUMBIA, Tenn. - A Tennessee man has struggled to put his life back together after serving more than 11 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
Sitting in a Coffee Shop on the edge of Columbia, 59-year-old Randy Mills said he is enjoying a freedom he never should have lost in the first place. 

"I was in prison for 11 years and 3 months, pretty much to the day," said Mills. 

Back in 1999, a jury convicted Mills of raping a 12-year-old girl. Two months ago, DNA evidence proved his innocence and the charges in Marshall County were thrown out. 

"I knew I was gonna get out from the time I was locked up," he says. "In prison you pretty much mind your own business and you stay focused on a hobby. My hobby was getting out." 

Getting out of prison though has proved to be the easy part.

"I can't keep dwelling on why, I need to dwell on me now. At 59 years old, trying to get a job - which is apparently not that easy, even after you've been exonerated," he said.

Randy's record has not yet been expunged so prospective employers still see the rape charge. It could be months before the record has been fixed.

He has tried desperately to find work, but two months after being exonerated he still hasn't had any luck. 

"You would think that after you get exonerated life would get a little bit easier, but it doesn't," he said. "You just do your best to come back from it, and that's the hard part."

Although he still can't find work, Randy and his lawyers have begun the process of suing the state for the time and money he's lost.

Since 1989, 14 other Tennesseans have been exonerated from crimes they did not commit.