Loyola Project for the Innocent wins parole for SoCal man imprisoned for 1993 murder

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Friday, January 13, 2023
After 3 decades claiming innocence, SoCal man freed from prison
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Humberto Duran spent 29 years in prison for a 1993 murder he has said from the beginning he did not commit. Now the Loyola Project for the Innocent has helped win his freedom.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Imagine spending 29 years in prison for a crime you know you didn't commit.

Humberto Duran has claimed all along he's not responsible for a murder that happened in 1993.

Now he leaves prison a free man. It's the start of a new year and a new beginning.

"I'm feeling good, happy, unbelievable," Duran said. "I can't believe I'm out."

His sister Veronica Ibarra says: "Words can't even express how we feel. It's been way too long, too many years. We've been dreaming of this day forever and I still can't believe it's happening. It's amazing."

Duran was convicted of murder and attempted murder in 1994, when he was only 19 years old. Attorneys say Duran had a firm alibi but his conviction was based on the inconsistent testimony of a single eyewitness.

"I had lost hope. I thought I was never going to get out of prison," says Duran.

The Loyola Project for the Innocent, which looks back at old cases on behalf of those who are believed to be wrongfully convicted, began investigating Duran's case in 2018.

They say Duran completed a number of courses and programs and worked hard to show his innocence. The Loyola Project found investigators did not follow through on several leads that identified someone else as the killer.

They presented this evidence and in August of last year the state Board of Parole Hearings found Duran suitable to be released.

"I stayed disciplinary-free for almost 10 years. I did self-help groups to accomplish, to go to the board and show my innocence," says Duran.

"Most of all they believed in him," says his sister. "A lot of attorneys don't believe in their clients and they believed in him, his innocence. And here we are because of their fighting and their perseverance. They've done so much. Thank you is not even enough."

Duran will celebrate a late Christmas with his family. They waited until his release for this gift of freedom.