In 1998, a New Orleans teenager spent his work money on drugs, told his father he had been robbed at gunpoint, and then picked a suspect out of a lineup at random. After the accuser tearfully testified at trial, a jury convicted Jermaine Hudson and the judge sentenced him to an incredible 99 years in prison. But NOLA.com reports that after two decades, the “victim” admitted this month he made it all up, saying in an affidavit that “for the last 20 years since this happened, I have been tortured by the lie I told.”
In a stunning coincidence, the recantation came after prosecutors had already decided to vacate Hudson’s conviction—based on a U.S. Supreme Court ban on non-unanimous verdicts like the one in his case. Hudson was set to plead guilty and get a sentence of time served when the accuser came forward with the truth. NOLA.com says that prosecutor Emily Maw wept as she apologized to Hudson and revealed that Hudson had an alibi witness back in 1998 but investigators chose not to believe her. Hudson, meanwhile, says he has forgiven the man who lied. “I just thank God that it’s finally over,” he said.