Saturday, October 11, 2014

How long would you wait for a Happy Meal?

AP -- A woman who spent 17 years in prison for the death of a homeless man hugged her grandchild for the first time and did a dance of happiness on Friday after she was judged innocent of murder and freed. The mother of three had been sentenced to life without parole.
"I always knew that one day God would bring the truth to the light," Susan Marie Mellen, 59, told reporters after she was released from a Torrance, CA, courthouse shortly before 6 p.m.
About eight hours earlier, a Los Angeles County judge overturned her conviction, saying that her attorney failed to properly represent her. "I believe she is innocent," Superior Court Judge Mark Arnold said. "For that reason I believe in this case the justice system failed." The courtroom burst into applause after his ruling.

She was embraced by her three grown children after her release. She shrieked and clapped her hands as she kissed and hugged her 19-month-old grandson, Aiden. "First time I held him," she told reporters.
She joked and beamed but also described her imprisonment as "cruel punishment."
"I would cry every night" in prison, Mellen said, but never lost faith and even wrote "freedom" on the bottom of her tennis shoes "because I knew I was going to walk free one day."
Mellen's case was investigated by a group called Innocence Matters, which seeks to free people who are wrongly convicted.
Mellen said she held no ill will against those who put her behind bars. "No, no, I always forgave my enemies," she said. "Even your haters, you have to forgive them and sometimes you have to thank them because they bring you closer to God."
She looks forward to having a McDonald's Happy Meal with her youngest daughter. Why? "She and I were at McDonald's when I got arrested, and we didn't have a happy meal that day," she said. "We're going to have a new beginning."

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