"Don't talk to me about God. If there was a God, I wouldn't be in here."

The state tried to keep him on death row. He sat there for two more years until a federal appeals court ordered a new trial.

When that finally happened, he was given a $100,000 bond. On July 2, 2008, thanks to an anonymous donor, he was released from prison and went home for the first time in 22 1/2 years.

The photographs of his release show how far he had wasted away behind bars. His skeletal arms, wild hair and stick-thin legs did not fill the wheelchair in which he rode to the car that would take him home. And yet prosecutors persuaded a judge to keep him on house arrest, saying he could flee and posed a danger to the community.

That didn’t dampen his mood.

“I’d been locked up so long, I didn’t know what being free was like,” he said. “It was a good day — the only one I’d had in 20 years.”