Tears of joy for Richmond family as Governor McAuliffe pardons man after 29 years

Michael McAlister shown in this Apr. 11, 2002 photograph taken at the Lunenburg Correctional Center, in Lunenburg, Va., will leave the prison on mandatory parole after 18 years of incarceration. The detective who arrested him believes he is innocent and the prosecutor has doubts about his guilt as well, but neither the courts, nor the parole board nor the governor would free him. (AP Photo from Richmond Times-Dispatch/Don Long)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A wrongly convicted Virginia man’s family shed tears of joy upon learning that he received a pardon from the governor after 29 years in prison.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe granted the full pardon Wednesday to 58-year-old Michael Kenneth McAlister, who was convicted of attempted rape based on mistaken identification by the victim. Authorities say the real perpetrator is a serial rapist who’s serving three life terms in prison.

McAlister’s sister, Denise Haas, says family members cried happy tears when they learned about the decision on a conference call with McAlister’s lawyers. She said the family is looking forward to making up for missed time with McAlister after he’s released.

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