Freed After 38 Years: David Bryant Joyfully Freed After Bronx Judge Rules Flawed Defense Trial

By Jason Van Hoven on April 14, 2013 11:01 AM EDT

Freed After 38 Years: David Bryant Joyfully Freed After Bronx Judge Rules Flawed Defense Trial
Daniel Bryant was wrongfully accused of murdering and raping a girl in the Bronx, pictured here, but freed after 38 years in an upstate New York prison. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Daniel Bryant was joyfully freed after 38 years in jail once a judge ruled his defense trial was flawed, according to reports.

Bryant, now 56 years old, had been in jail for almost 40 years for the 1975 murder of eight-year-old Karen Smith in the Bronx, N.Y., but was dramatically freed from prison on Thursday after a judge ruled that he didn't receive a fair trial.

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After being freed after 38 years from Marcy prison, a medium-security facility in upstate New York., Bryant joyfully shouted his gratification and revealed how his parents never believed he was innocent.

According to the New York Post, he tearfully said outside court: "I don't have words for all this. These are tears of joy."

Bryant, who said that he intends to use his experience from 38 years in prison to counsel youths "to never get in trouble," wore a sweatshirt emblazoned with the words "I didn't do it."

"I never had anything to do with that crime, never," he said. "When they bury me, they better put this shirt on me."

The New York Daily News reported that Bryant was freed after 38 years because a Bronx judge found that Bryant received poor counsel because Bryant's court-appointed lawyer didn't question semen and blood evidence which was picked up at the scene of the crime by consulting a test expert, according to a motion filed by the advocacy group The Centurion Ministries. As a result, Bryant was kept from a fair trial and wrongfully convicted.

Bryant, who was 18 years old at the time of the murder, was arrested less than a day after the discovery of Smith's body in the stairwell of an apartment house. She'd been raped, beaten and stabbed. But, it was discovered that Bryant's blood type didn't match semen found at the scene where she was killed.

A spokesman for the Bronx district attorney's office said that no decision has been made on appealing the judge's ruling that freed Bryant after 38 years.

Bryant, left shocked upon being freed after 38 years, said that he would quickly need to come to terms with how the world has changed during his time in prison.

"You come out and you see all the changes and you don't know if you're going to make the adaptations to this new life," he said.

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