KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Few people can imagine what is was like for Ricky Kidd to see the outside world for the first time in more than 20 years when he walked out of a Cameron, Missouri, prison on Thursday.
But Faye Jacobs remembers it like it was yesterday. She walked out of an Arkansas prison a year ago.
“My thoughts were, ‘Is this real? Am I really getting out?'” Jacobs said.
At age 16, Jacobs was sentenced to life in prison without parole for capital murder. She spent 26 years behind bars for the shooting death of 17-year-old Kevin Gaddy.
“To be put in a place for so long for a crime you didn’t commit and to be released, you go through emotions,” Jacobs said.
Unlike Kidd, whose conviction was vacated, Jacobs got a new sentencing because of her age at the time she was convicted. The new sentencing hearing was mandated by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. She was sentenced to time served.
“I’m free, but that’s still something that’s on my back,” she said of her capital murder conviction.
She moved to Kansas City to work closely with the Midwest Innocence Project to try to get the conviction off her record on the basis of ineffective council.
Her new attorneys say attorneys didn’t ask for discovery, didn’t investigate and didn’t call five witnesses who could have testified she wasn’t the shooter.
Jacobs, who was 15 at the time, said she was picked up by police who thought she matched the description of the suspect in the shooting as she returned home from church with her parents.
Since her release, she’s worked at a bakery and a car dealership. She said adapting to modern technology isn’t always easy.
“To get off a toilet and to have it flush itself, I was blown away. It kind of freaked me out!” Jacobs chuckled.
She was freaking out in a different way Thursday when her attorneys, the same ones who worked with Kidd, told her he was walking out a free man.
“If you’ve ever been accused of something you didn’t do and to be labeled as this horrible person that you are not, and to have that taken away, it is like giving me my life back.” she said.