At first glance this story made no sense — a man who spent the past 38 years in prison wins his freedom when his innocence is finally proven and is reunited with his dog.
No dog — no matter how loyal to his owner — lives that long.
Turns out though, that Malcolm Alexander came into possession of the dog while serving his sentence at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, a facility which, while it has a reputation as a tough place, offers several dog programs and even breeds its own guard dogs.
Alexander, 58, had been proclaiming his innocence since he was convicted of sexual assault and sent to prison at age 20.
On Tuesday, he was welcomed home by his 82-year-old mother, his son and his grandson – both named Malcolm, and other relatives.
Earlier in the day, A Jefferson Parish judge vacated Alexander’s 1980 aggravated rape conviction and his mandatory life sentence after finding that Alexander had not been provided with adequate legal assistance, and that DNA evidence discovered in 2013 excluded Alexander as a suspect in the sexual assault.
After the ruling, Alexander did not return to the prison, where both his belongings and his dog remained.
The next day, he was reunited with the huge black Lab, Nola.com reported.
“You ain’t got nothing to worry about no more,” he told the 9-month-old pup upon reuniting with him. “I told you we gonna be free. I told you they was gonna get us out.”
Alexander’s case was undertaken by The Innocence Project, which helped him gain his freedom.
Alexander had raised the dog since shortly after his birth. He named the dog Innocence, and calls him Inn for short.
Inn was born at the prison to another dog at the facility, according to Vanessa Potkin, an attorney with The Innocence Project.
Potkin and other staffers traveled to Angola Wednesday to retrieve Inn and Alexander’s property and return them to Alexander.
(Photo: Michelle Hunter \ NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)