Tulsa Man Released After Being Wrongly Convicted Starts All Over

Saturday, July 27th 2019, 7:25 am
By: Amy Kauffman

A Tulsa man who was in prison for nearly 30 years was released last week after being wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder.

Now he's starting over with nothing and some local groups are trying to help him get back on his feet.

Corey Atchison says he felt so relieved when he walked out of the Tulsa County Jail last week and was finally reunited with his family after nearly 30 years behind bars, but now he just wants to get a job and get back to normal.  

"It’s like you're looking at somebody else but it's yourself,” said Corey Atchison.

It's been 8 days since Corey Atchison walked out of the Tulsa County Jail, his first day as a free man in nearly 30 years.

"It’s the best thing, freedom is the best thing," said Atchison.

Corey was sentenced to life in prison for fatally shooting James Lane during a robbery in August of 1990 east of downtown Tulsa. Nearly 30 years later, multiple witnesses came forward saying he wasn't the shooter. Now Corey is looking to move forward with his life.

“I want to get down to the real-life now and get a job and work and support myself but it’s a blessing you know,” said Atchison.

After helping Corey get out of prison, Another Chance Justice Project started a GoFundMe page to help him get a car to drive to work.

They're also helping him get a driver’s license, but it's hard to get one when you don't have two forms of identification.

"People who come from prison often don’t have two forms with them, maybe the prison hasn’t gotten the two things to them yet but it’s a process,” said Director of Another Chance Justice Project, Eric Cullen.

Corey and his attorney can now file for a settlement from the state of Oklahoma for $175,000 for a wrongful conviction. However, it could take months or even a year to get that money.

So, for now, he's hoping generous community members can help him get started.

“Hopefully we can get him a truck next week,” said Cullen.

But until then, Corey says he's just going to continue to take it all in every step of the way.

"All this started with a dream and the dream has come and it’s still going and going,” said Atchison.

Another Chance Justice Project is an investigative non-profit that aims to help people convicted of crimes they didn’t commit. All attorneys and investigators work without a paycheck on these cases.

To donate to their project, you can head to their website.