Angola death row inmate who gave false confession released after 15 years

Man pacing prison celloriginally by:  
published: 28 September 2012

A Marrero man who spent 15 years on Louisiana’s death row for his wrongful conviction of raping and strangling to death 14-year-old Crystal Champagne under the Huey P. Long Bridge in 1996 walked out of the Angola prison a free man Friday.

Damon Thibodeaux, 38, was cleared, attorneys announced, confirming what he has said since his arrest on July 20, 1996: He caved after nine hours of interrogation by Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives and confessed to a crime he did not commit.

Thibodeaux quickly recanted, but it was too late, his attorneys have said. He was convicted of first-degree murder by a Jefferson Parish jury, primarily based on the confession, and sentenced to die, according to court records.

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