Wrongfully convicted man cleared by DNA takes story to Salem

Gerard Richardson speaks with KATU News on Wednesday. (KATU Photo)

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," said Richardson.

He's in Portland this week before heading to Salem on Friday to testify to lawmakers about changing the DNA laws in Oregon.

"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.

Feldman is with the Oregon Innocence Project. They are presenting lawmakers with proposed legislation that would ease restrictions for inmates to get DNA testing.

The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office was not available for an on-camera interview, but release this 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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