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Innocent man freed after 27 years

Imprisoned for 27 years for a rape he did not commit, Michael Anthony Green walked out of a US jail a free man and in the process was able to leave behind some of the anger that fuelled his survival behind bars.

Accompanied by his lawyer, Mr Green walked out of jail and into the arms of about 20 family members who cheered him.

"Live life," Mr Green said, when asked what he is going to do now.

Mr Green, 44, was released after the Harris County District Attorney's Office reopened his case and new DNA tests it commissioned showed he did not commit the 1983 rape of a woman who was abducted.

During a court hearing, a judge ordered that Mr Green be released on a 500 US dollar bond, allowing him to be free while the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals makes a final ruling on his innocence.

Asked what kept him going the last 27 years, Mr Green said that in part it was his anger. "I took and channelled my anger into studying the law," said Mr Green, clutching a photograph of his mother, who died while he was in prison. "That's how I lived, day by day ... doing what I did. Get up in the law, try to find me a way out."

Some of the anger that Mr Green held onto for so many years came to the surface on Thursday, when he had been originally scheduled to be freed on bond. His release was delayed to give him time to calm down after he became upset that he was put in handcuffs and leg restraints one final time as he was taken from the county jail to the courthouse, said Bob Wicoff, his legal representative.

In 1983, four men abducted a woman from a pay telephone in north Houston, taking her to a remote location where three of them raped her.

The men drove off, leaving the woman there, and were later chased by police. The men abandoned their car and fled on foot. Mr Green was detained by officers that night as he walked in the area.

The victim could not identify Mr Green in person when he was first detained but later picked him from a photo lineup as one of her attackers. Mr Green was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to 75 years in prison. He was the only person convicted in the case.

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