Two Tulsa men, convicted of murder in 1994, are now free.
De’Marchoe Carpenter and Malcolm Scott have spent the last two decades behind bars until The Innocence Project uncovered new evidence and a judge ruled both men are innocent.
The two were only teenagers when they were convicted, but Monday, they walked out men ready to start over after 21 years.
It took several hours from the time the judge made the decision to when the Scott and Carpenter were released; but for their families, it was worth it.
It was a moment that's been building for more than two decades – the moment when Scott could hug his mother as a free man, no longer bound by prison walls.
Scott: “We did momma.”
Mother: “I'm so happy.”
Scott: “Thank you for never giving up me.”
It's a feeling no one word could do ever justice.
“Excellent, wonderful, extraordinary, magical,” Scott said.
About an hour after Scott walked free, Carpenter was also met hugs and tears of joy from his mother and sister.
Carpenter met the media with a sense of humor.
“It's obvious I can't pursue my NBA career,” he laughed. “You can't be bitter about the past. It's time to move forward and live for the future.”
Carpenter and Scott were convicted of killing Karen Summers during a drive-by shooting in 1994. Years later, death row prisoner Michael Wilson admitted he was responsible for Summer’s death. Wilson’s confession came just before he was executed for another murder.
“I wasn't trying to shoot Karen Summers...she was just...one of those type of things, ya know, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I shot Karen Summers,” Wilson told the Oklahoma Innocence Project in 2014.
Scott and Carpenter both said they forgive Wilson for not confessing sooner.
“I can't hold grudges. And at the end, it was a blessing. He stepped forward and he did what was right in the end and that's what I'm thankful for,” Scott said.
“Unfortunately he did what he did and I can't speak why he did it or why he didn't do what he should have did a long time ago, but, ya know, things happen, and I'm just blessed to be living after all these years,” Carpenter said.
The Oklahoma Innocence Project represented the men. It’s the first, and only, organization in Oklahoma evaluating post-conviction claims of innocence. The group is made up of Oklahoma City University law students and pro-bono attorneys. Carpenter and Scott said there’s no way to express their appreciate for the group.
“They worked hard every day, and I appreciate everything they've done by giving me a second chance at life,” Scott said. “I will make sure that everything I do in life from this point is to show that it was worth it. That it was worth that they did all this hard work to get me out of there and I thank them so much.”
The Oklahoma Innocence Project is funded almost entirely by private donations.
The prosecutor plans to appeal Monday's ruling, saying Wilson confessed to the Summers' murder to help out Carpenter and Scott, who prosecutors claim were Wilson's buddies and fellow gang members.