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Man who claimed innocence in 1981 Abingdon murders says he's 'finally free'

John Huffington.jpg
Posted at 11:08 PM, Jul 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-06 23:08:24-04

BALTIMORE — It took 42 years for one Maryland man to finally get exonerated from a double murder he didn’t commit.

RELATED: Hogan pardons man who claimed innocence from 1981 Abingdon murders

“Quite honestly until you have had your freedom taken, you have no concept of what it is like to be free," John Huffington said.

Huffington was convicted of murdering a woman and her boyfriend on Memorial Day in 1981.

He never committed the murders but spent 32 years in prison, 10 of those on death row.

READ MORE: A man's 40-year fight to clear his name of two murders he claims to have never committed

“You sorta been sitting under the chimney for 42 years waiting for Santa Claus to come down and okay he showed up and gave you a cookie, what do you do now?"

Now as a free man, John dedicates his time to pouring back into incarcerated people who are going through similar situations.

He said its vital for the justice system to correct any mistakes so people wont be wrongfully convicted.

“As fast as we are to close the case and reassure the public that the perpetrator is not on the street anymore and you can rest easy at night again. When we’re made aware of an error it should be that same rush and that same expediency to fixing it," says John.

When asked if he ever thought of giving up on clearing his name, John says at one point he did while on death row, but the feeling was fleeting.

“I owed it to my parents and I owed it to my family. I needed to clear my name and I wasn’t going to stop until I did that,” he said.

He continues to work hard being a voice for those who are wrongfully convicted and helping teach ways to avoid mistakes like the one that lead to his conviction.

“Systems are run by people and its people that will make mistakes, not necessarily the system and if we can start reaching those people at the beginning of those careers and hoping to educate them on the mistakes that had happened and on best practices just so they can do a better job, I think we can end up with a system that as Americans we can be proud of," says John.