CREST HILL, Ill. (WLS) --Norman McIntosh is a free man after spending 15 years in prison after he was exonerated in a drive-by shooting for which he was imprisoned when he was only 22 years old.
McIntosh was released from Stateville Correctional Facility with little fanfare just after 3 p.m. with only his attorneys present. He said when his mother called him in the morning to let him know he'd be released, he refused to believe it.
"It's unreal. There are so many wrongful convictions of people, for you to be one of the people that get out it's just unbelievable. It feel grateful," McIntosh said.
McIntosh, 37, was exonerated of the murder charges that put him behind bars at the young age of 22. His life is now his own.
"It's going to go anywhere now. As long as I'm outside of the walls, anything can happen," he said.
McIntosh was wrongly convicted of the murder of 23-year-old Devon Hobson after being misidentified by the victim's brother and two 12-year-olds as the drive-by shooter who took his life in the 6000-block of South Honore in November 2001. Getting his conviction overturned has been a long process that began several years ago when Hobson's brother James, in prison for murder, recanted his identification saying he'd been pressured by detectives into making it in the first place.
"I contacted the other two eyewitnesses who were 12 at the time and they recanted, they said they didn't know who the shooter was. I found an alternate suspect. That alternate suspect's prints were found on something the perpetrator owned. Norman's prints weren't there. I proved the alternate suspect had a car that exactly matched the description the witnesses gave of the car, and at trial they said Normal did and I proved Norman didn't," said his defense attorney Jennifer Blagg.
For now, all McIntosh wants to do is go home to his son, who is now 14, and his father who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer two years ago. He was too sick to be at Stateville when McIntosh was released.
"At least if I can spend some time with him, that's all I want and that's all he want," McIntosh said.
McIntosh said he will live with his sister and hopes to work at a body shop with relatives. Vacating his sentence, the judge apologized to his family saying an injustice had been corrected.