Man and His Uncle Released After 42 Years in Prison for Murder They Didn’t Commit

April 1, 2019 Updated: April 7, 2019

Two men who were imprisoned 42 years ago for a murder they didn’t commit have been set free after a judge vindicated the pair on March 28.

Clifford Williams, 76, and Hubert “Nathan” Myers, 61, walked free after a judge cleared them of the 1976 fatal shooting of Jeanette Williams and the attempted murder of her friend Nina Marshall.

Upon their release and with tears in his eyes, Myers knelt down, kissed the ground, and said: “Thank you lord Jesus Christ.”

The men, both uncle and nephew, were released after the state attorney initiated a review of wrongful conviction claims in 2018. Their case was re-opened after the courts received a letter from Myers—one year after The Innocence Project and the State Attorney’s Office Conviction Integrity Unit was set up.

A report from the attorney’s office stated: “In fact, the physical and scientific evidence actually contradicts her testimony about what happened,” with reference to Marshall’s statement. Myers had taken a polygraph test and it had been determined he was not lying.

The two men are the first to be freed under the Florida initiative.

“When we have an opportunity to correct errors, we should do so,” said State Attorney Melissa Nelson.

Now free, Myers admitted: “I’m nervous, you know, because I feel like I’m still locked up,” reported TheDailyMail.

“Once I get with my family and you can look back and not have any officers telling me what to do and how to do it, then reality hit me, I think I’ll be alright.”

Posted by Bridgette Matter Action News Jax on Thursday, March 28, 2019

There had been no evidence to connect the two men to the crime, or that they had an alibi at the time the murder was committed. The court had relied on the testimony of the surviving woman, Marshall, who died in 2001—she had claimed Williams and Myers did the shooting.

Their first trial ended in a mistrial, and Myers, 18 at the time, was offered a five-year sentence in return for testifying against his uncle—but he refused.

Both were convicted at a second trial, with Williams getting the death penalty—after an appeal, this was later overturned to life in prison. He was 34 at the time and didn’t get a chance to reconnect with his mom: “Well, my mother died while I was on death row, and I just wanted to get out and be with my kids,” he said. “There was nobody but them.”

Nathaniel Lawson, who died in 1994, had confessed to the murder to his friends, but his claim was never investigated. This was mentioned in the report that led to the men’s release.

Myers gave credit to Nelson and Shelley Thibodeau, the head attorney who re-opened their case.

Posted by Bridgette Matter Action News Jax on Thursday, March 28, 2019

“Everyone else had plugs in their ears and wouldn’t listen,” said Myers. ”I tried and tried and tried.”

“The culmination of all the evidence, most of which the jury never heard or saw, leaves no abiding confidence in the convictions or the guilt of the defendants,” the report said.

The men will each receive compensation that could range between $50,000 and $2 million from the courts (pdf). Not much in exchange for a lifetime spent behind bars.

GOING HOME AFTER 42 YEARS: Clifford Williams Jr. and his nephew, Nathan Myers, are going home after spending more than 42 years in prison on a conviction in the murder of a Jacksonville woman. #AT5ON4 STORY – bit.ly/2UghD2B

Posted by WJXT4 The Local Station / News4JAX on Thursday, March 28, 2019

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