“Every morning Damon Thibodeaux wakes up in his temporary digs in Minneapolis and wonders when his newfound freedom is going to come crashing down. “You think you’re going to wake up and find it was just a dream,” he says.
When he stepped out of Angola jail in Louisiana several guards were at the gate to wish him well, addressing him for the first time in 16 years as “Mr Thibodeaux”. “No offence,” he said, “but I hope I never see you again.”
He walked out as the 300th prisoner in the US to be freed as a result of DNA testing and one of 18 exonerated from death row. With the help of science he has been proved innocent of a crime for which the state of Louisiana spent 15 years trying to kill him.
For those years Thibodeaux was in a cell 1.8 metres by 3 metres for 23 hours a day. His only luxury was a morning coffee, made using a handkerchief as a filter with coffee bought from the prison shop; his only consolation was reading reading the Bible; his only exercise pacing up and down for an hour a day in a the “exercise yard”– a metal cage slightly larger than his cell.”