In 1995, Eric Glisson was arrested for a taxi driver’s murder and eventually sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
He was found guilty based on false eyewitness testimony. From behind bars, he was able to prove his innocence and get his conviction overturned after serving 18 years of his sentence.
Glisson did an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit Thursday and described how he survived life in prison and eventually got out.
Here’s how he described his ordeal:
His life in prison
Q: What is the craziest thing you have witnessed while in prison?
I walked past a cell, and saw a guy who was hanging.
Q: Were you ever victim to any violence while in prison? How did you get along with other inmates and the officers?
I mostly stayed to myself, and frequented the law library a lot. I taught a lot of people to read and write. I taught the GED class. I stayed busy. I went to prison with a sixth grade education and left with a bachelors of behavioural science.
Q: Did you ever consider suicide while being trapped in there?
Several times. When you lose all of your appeals, and you have to consider that you’ll be in there the rest of your life because parole almost is never given to convicted murders, you think the only relief is to end it. But, something inside you keeps telling you to fight.
Q: What was the biggest shock when you first got to prison?
It’s not the image you see on TV. There’s not as much violence, the food isn’t as bad. If your family sends you food packages, you can actually cook for yourself.
Q: How in the loop were you with what was going on outside of the jail on a World/Political level? From what I can gather you were in prison over 9/11/2001.
Newspapers were my only connection to the outside world. And radio.
Q: During the time you were imprisoned, what was the one thing you truly missed the most?
My daughter. I was taken away from her one week after she was born. She’s 19 now.
Overturning his conviction
Q: What did they say when they released you? “Our bad”?
They didn’t say anything. I went up to the assistant DA who opposed every appeal that I filed and I shook her hand and told her it was finally nice to meet my long-term nemesis, and she’s won a lot of battles but I just won the war. Seemed to me she put her head down in shame.
Q: May I ask how one can launch their own investigation from their cell? That sounds extremely hard.
It was hard. I used the [Freedom of Information Act]. I have a stack of letters I sent… they denied me for years. Finally, in 2012 I got ONE document that opened the whole case up and proved who the real killers were.
Q: Why did it take so long for you to be exonerated? Did they just recently look into the circumstances of your case? Did your investigation have anything to do with them looking into it?
I did my own research and investigation and found the real killers from inside my cell. Only when the US Attorneys office got involved did the courts in the Bronx take this matter seriously and re-investigate the case.
Q: Did you have any friends or family who believed you were guilty and how did that go?
A lot of family members and friends were under the impression that I actually committed this crime and as a circumstance of that and abandoned me. They all now know the truth and have taken steps to amend their past judgement of me and I’ve accepted it.
Q: How has your relationship with your daughter been? Were you able to meet her while in prison?
It was strained, and still it feels like she resents me for leaving her for all of these years.
Q: What most shocked you about the world today after being in prison for so long?
Seeing all of these young kids, how the subculture has changed. With all the piercings, and body tattoos, they way they dress with their pants hanging.
Q: Biggest shock as far as technology goes?
Cell phones! … I’ve ran through about seven of them so far. I keep breaking them! The screens are fragile, and I washed one in the washing machine.
Q: What was the one thing you really wanted to do once you got released? Was it travel, a certain meal, what?
I just wanted to eat lamb chops. … My first meal was lamb chops and cheesecake, which was awesome. It was like the first time ever tasting lamb chops again.
Q: Has the stigma of once being in prison for murder been hard to live with? Such as finding a job or anything like that?
I have difficulties with credit issues, housing. I just got a new apartment, and had to pay a full years rent because I don’t have credit.
I opened a juice bar in the Bronx called Fresh Take On Life, and work there every day.
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