County of Conviction: Los Angeles
Convicted of: First-Degree Murder, Assault with a Firearm
Sentence: 27 Years to Life
Years Served: 28 Years
Released: October 10, 2014
Cost of Wrongful Incarceration: $1,260,000
September 9, 1986 was a day that forever changed the course of a young man’s life. That young man was Roeling Adams. September 9th 1986 was the date that Roeling was convicted for the tragic murder of one young man and the attempted murder of two others. Perhaps the saddest part of this whole affair; Roeling was convicted for crimes he did not commit. Despite having an alibi, Roeling’s fate to three decades in prison was determined by circumstances of eyewitness misidentification, gang loyalty, and a dubious star witness. It wasn’t until nearly 20 years later that the true murderer admitted to the crimes, exculpating Roeling and his brother Edward, that the wheels of justice finally started to move forward. Because of this new certified admission of guilt by the true killer, the State Parole Board finally granted Roeling parole.
No longer a young man, Roeling Adams is ecstatic to humbly resume his place as a member of society. Anxious to finish his college degree and find employment in the clerical or computer industries, Mr. Adams has all the attributes needed to successfully transition back into society despite previous inequities. With his entire life in front of him, Roeling Adams is looking forward, and not behind himself, with an inspirational sense of optimism. His story of what is broken with our criminal justice system is also an example of what is whole with regards to the human spirit.
“One of the leading causes of wrongful conviction is misidentification,” says Justin Brooks, Director of the California Innocence Project. “I am so pleased that Roeling finally has his freedom after 28 years of wrongful incarceration.”