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St. Louis man exonerated after decade in prison

By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – A St. Louis man who spent nearly 11 years in prison was freed Wednesday after a DNA test proved his innocence.

Antonio Beaver was convicted in 1997 for threatening a woman with a screwdriver and stealing her car. The woman later identified Beaver in a line-up.

Last fall the state agreed to do a D-N-A test. The results showed it was not Beaver's blood found in the car.

After a judge told him he could go, Beaver said it felt strange to have his freedom.

"I'd like to give thanks to my God, because there is a God and he knew I was innocent from the start," he said during a press conference. "But I guess there was a reason I had to go to prison, maybe to find myself, but I ended up there through a case of mistaken identity."

The victim fingered Beaver during a police line-up. Beaver's attorney, Nina Morrison with the Innocence Project, says his case points out flaws in the traditional police line-up.

Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce worked with Morrison to file a motion to overturn Beaver's conviction.

She told him that she would work to help him re-enter society.

The state of Missouri pays those wrongfully convicted up to $50 a day for each day they spent in prison.

When asked if that was enough, Beaver said he missed watching his sons grow up and having a normal life.