NEW YORK -- It is freedom for a New York man wrongly convicted of murder. David McCallum called his release this week a "bittersweet moment after 28 years lost in prison.
The last time 45-year-old David McCallum stepped foot on this neighborhood basketball court, he was 16 years old.
"The noise and the chatter, the childrens sounds, sounds great," he said looking at his surroundings. He said it's music to his ears.
In 1986, McCallum and another teen Willie Stukey were sentenced to 25 years to life for the kidnapping and murder of a 20-year-old man.
The only evidence linking them to the crime was their videotaped confessions, which the boys claimed were fed to them by police.
"I falsely confessed to a crime that I didn't commit," he explained. "I did i because I thought at that time my life was in danger."
For nearly 30 years McCallum insisted he was innocent. On Wednesday, a judge agreed.
His friend Willy Stukey died in prison in 2001.
"Not having Willy Stucky there to walk out of the courtroom with me was clearly a bittersweet moment.
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson supported the release.
"We concluded there was no physical evidence," Thompson said. "No DNA evidence, no testimonial evidence."
That conclusion came from Thompsons's Convictions Review Unit, which was created this year to look at past cases. Out of 30 they've examined, 10 convictions have been overturned.
Harvard Law Professor Ron Sullivan runs the Brooklyn unit. But there aren't many like it. There are more than 2,300 district attorneysoffices nationwide, but only 16 have conviction review boards.
"It's well worth their while to take a look at innocence claims to find those cases where mistakes were made and to do justice," said Sullivan."
For McCallum's part, he said he was able to maintain hope. "It's hard to kind of hold on to hope, but hope is a very powerful word."
McCallum's story may not be the last. The Brooklyn D.A.'s Conviction Review Unit plans to reopen at least 100 more cases.