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Gerard Richardson

An innocent man served 18 years in prison. Now free, he wants to reform DNA evidence laws.

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By KATHERINE KISIEL, KATU

PORTLAND, Ore. (CIRCA via KATU) — Gerard Richardson, a New Jersey native, spent 18 years in prison for crimes he didn't commit.

"Being in prison for a crime you didn’t do and knowing that you’re innocent is the hardest thing in the world," he said.

"In his case, he lost 20 years of his life, but the victim and the family of the victim never got justice."
Michelle Feldman, Oregon Innocence Project

He's in Oregon this week to testify to state lawmakers about changing its DNA laws.

"If I was a resident of Oregon, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now talking to you," said Richardson.

In 2013, Richardson was exonerated because of DNA testing.

"In his case, he lost 20 years of his life, but the victim and the family of the victim never got justice, and we don’t want the same thing to happen in Oregon," said Michelle Feldman with the Oregon Innocence Project.

Her group is presenting lawmakers with proposed legislation that would ease restrictions for inmates to get DNA testing.

In Multnomah County, which includes Portland, the district attorney's office offered this response to Richardson's appearance in a statement: "The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office and Oregon District Attorneys Association are continuing to work with representatives from the Oregon Innocence Project and state lawmakers on the language of this proposal."

Richardson said he's not upset about his time in prison, but doesn't want it to happen to anyone else.

"I'm not bitter or angry, because it’s not going to do no good, it’s not going to hurt nobody but me, so just move on and live my life to the fullest and keep doing what I’m doing," he said.

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