DUNN, N.C. -- Three weeks after being released from a Colorado prison, Robert Dewey is trying to regain control of his life even after spending more than sixteen years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit.
51-year-old Dewey became a free man after new DNA technology cleared his name in the involvement in the 1994 rape and murder of 19-year-old Jacie Taylor. His conviction years ago would lead to a life sentence without the possibility of parole; Dewey always maintained his innocence.
"Some people say if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But the system is broke," said Dewey during an exclusive interview with FOX31 Denver in North Carolina.
Despite his release, Robert Dewey is still struggling to survive. His exoneration does not come with a blank check. He's now living off of food stamps and the generosity of a non-profit group that helps wrongfully convicted inmates.
"It was like being in a room full of people and you're yelling and no one can hear you, that's what it felt like," added Dewey when asked to describe his time in Colorado's Limon Correctional Facility.
Dewey's legal fight was spearheaded by a Denver attorney who first took the case as a state appointed defender. That case would stretch for over eleven years, thousands of documents, and one simple truth: Robert Dewey was innocent.
"It's better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent man be sent to prison, that's sort of my philosophy," said Danyel Joffe the attorney credited with getting Dewey his freedom.
Joffe's tireless efforts were finally rewarded in April of this year when DNA evidence would allow Mesa County prosecutors to officially request a dismissal of Dewey's 1996 conviction. The conviction would have most likely meant Dewey would die in prison for the crime he never committed.
"I didn't get a blank check and a private jet out of Grand Junction, none whatsoever," added Dewey when discussing his now looming financial problems.
Robert Dewey is now living with friends and family in rural North Carolina but is currently unemployed and is desperate need of financial assistance.
"We can't make up for those lost years but we need to do something to compensate him for what he has lost and to let him get back on his feet," pleaded Dewey's attorney during an interview on Friday.
Dewey's legal team is considering a lawsuit against Mesa County for the wrongful conviction, but that process could take several years to complete and there is no guarantee of a beneficial outcome.
If you're interested in helping Robert Dewey, financially or other otherwise, you can contact his attorney directly:
For More on the Innocence Project, the group that helped with DNA testing, click here: http://www.innocenceproject.org/