Released and given new trial after 45 years, man says he is not angry

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Richard Phillips has been in prison 45 years and Thursday night he was released on bond.

Evidence has revealed he could be innocent and he now will get a new trial.

Phillips walked outside and blew a kiss to the sky today.

"That's my thanks to God," he said. "It was my faith in God and the hope that maybe one day something would develop. And it did."

He took a deep breath and filled his lungs with chilly winter air. It is a miraculous feeling for Phillips, 71.

It was back in 1971, Phillips, along with co-defendant Richard Polombo, were both convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder of Gregory Harris.

"There was testimony that he was involved, that he was one of two perpetrators," said attorney Gabi Silver. "And he got convicted by a jury."

Phillips was sentenced to concurrent terms of life in prison without parole.

"Basically I had resided myself to dying in prison for something I didn't do," Phillips said.

But it was in 2010 during a parole board hearing that Polumbo allegedly admitted that he and another man killed Harris -- adding that he didn't even know Phillips at the time. 

The Michigan Innocence Clinic learned of Phillips' case in 2014 and spending nearly four years on it.

"They've dedicated themselves in a way that I would have not have expected," Phillips said. "And I am very much appreciative of that."

A judge granted Phillips a $5,000 personal bond and a new trial.

"February 5th is the trial date, the judge said he is not adjourning it, not changing it," Silver said. "We're going to get ready to try the case."

While Phillips says prison is an experience he wouldn't wish on his worst enemy. After 45 years, he said he has no anger in his heart.

He was asked what the first thing he is going to do or eat.

"I would like to say I am going to go to Disneyland," Phillips said. "That's out of the question. As far as eating, I have no idea. Fresh air. I could've walked out here barefoot and it would've been just as nice."

And when he was encouraged to have a Merry Christmas, he said "It's already a Merry Christmas," he said.

"This is the best Christmas present I could've gotten under the tree."