In 1980, at the age of 21, Malcolm Alexander was convicted of rape and sentenced to life in prison. From day one, he proclaimed his innocence and has maintained it in the decades since.
When the Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal organization dedicated to exonerating the wrongfully convicted, got behind Alexander’s case in 1996, they fought long and hard and this year, on January 30, he walked free from Louisiana’s infamous prison at Angola, absolved by DNA evidence. He is now 58.
But he’s not alone.
The day after leaving prison, Alexander was gleefully reunited with Innocence (“Inn” for short), the black Lab he raised while incarcerated.
“You ain’t got nothing to worry about no more…. I told you they was gonna get us out,” he told the 9-month-old pup.
Inn was delighted to see her old friend, rolling over for tummy rubs. She had spent an additional night at Angola; Alexander had left her, along with other belongings — but Vanessa Potkin, an attorney with the Innocence Project, returned to bring her home to her human.
Watch the ENTIRE reunion here:
The dog was born at the prison to another dog, the runt of a litter of 10. She lived at Alexander’s work sites: the metal shop and wood shop. He fed her and cared for her.
“To have a dog is a privilege,” he told TODAY. “It makes the world different.”
Alexander also returned home by his 82-year-old mother, his son and grandson (both named Malcolm) and other relations. He learned carpentry, woodworking and jewelry-making during his time in prison and hopes to be working very soon. Alexander and Inn will be staying with his son’s family until they get a place of their own.
“I feel beautiful,” Alexander said. “I feel happy. Very happy.”