NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Nashville man Joseph Webster is home with his family after a judge vacated his life sentence on Tuesday.
Webster was accused of the 1998 murder of Leroy Owens and was sent to prison in 2006 after being found guilty.
But new DNA evidence and witness testimony, along with recanted testimony from the first trial, has proved to a Davidson County judge that Webster is not responsible for the murder.
Tuesday night, he was released from the Davidson County jail to his mother, sons, and other family members in an emotional reunion.
"Oh, God is good, Joseph. You home, baby. Oh lord have mercy," exclaimed Webster's mother before becoming so overcome with emotion that she needed to be carried to her car.
After being released, Webster said, "the hard part is over with now I've just got to deal with this part, and that's the part of it."
He continued by saying he'd need to pick his life back up where it fell off and start over. "I just want to enjoy my family, make time with my family. I missed a lot of their life. I just want to give it back to them," said Webster.
Daniel Horwitz is Webster's attorney. He's spent the last four years a part of investigations surrounding the 1998 murder. He said a huge amount of work by a huge number of people helped make this happen. It includes the new witnesses along with the Innocence Project and the DA Conviction Review Unit.
Of that unit, Horwitz said, "They did a much more thorough investigation than was done initially. I think this day does not happen without them either."
Horwitz said Webster is not bitter but grateful, always believing this day would come. "I'm not sure I would have had the same faith if I was in his position, but it turns out he was right. This has obviously been a long, long time coming, but he persisted, and he's at the point that he's going to get to come home from a life sentence," he said.
Webster said prayers, and family got him through the 14 years in prison. He also expressed sympathy and condolences to the Owens family. He said he felt their pain but isn't responsible for Leroy Owens' murder.