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Man released from prison after spending 32 years behind bars for murder he didn’t commit

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JACKSON, Mich. -- A Michigan man who was wrongfully convicted of murder is now out of prison after 32 years, WXYZ reports.

"From the grace of God he kept me from losing my mind," said Viola Burton, whose son, Danny, was wrongfully convicted.

Viola Burton said goodbye to her son when he was 19-years-old.

It was 1987 and Danny Burton was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.

"I knew in my heart that he couldn't kill nobody," Viola said.

And Friday, with Claudia Whitman, who volunteers to investigate for the release of the innocent, and a team of lawyers, Viola got to see her son walk out of prison.

"I'm really shocked and happy to get out. If it wasn't for Claudia, my lawyer, and my lawyer's team, I don't think this day would have ever come true," Danny said.

At a hearing Friday morning in a Wayne County courtroom, prosecutors with Kym Worthy's Conviction Integrity Unit went to a judge with Danny lawyers where his conviction was overturned.

His lawyers had obtained a sworn affidavit from a prisoner, naming the real killers.

"There was a lot of witness intimidation," said attorney Madeline Sinkovich, who added that young witnesses were mistreated by police to get statements.

"I'm very excited for his mom and for his family and of course for Danny. He's waited 32 years," said Claudia Whitman with the National Capital Crime Assistance Network

Danny tearfully hugged his mother when he was released from prison, but his father wasn't there to see his son released because he died years ago from a heart attack.

Danny's sister also passed away last year.

Danny says he is going to spend his time doing the same work that set him free.

"There's a lot of guys that's in here that's innocent also," Danny said. "A lot can't read or write or seek assistance, and I'm hoping I can go out and contribute some of my time to help Claudia and my attorney and his staff to help other guys wrongfully convicted in here get out."

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