Former Inmate Speaks About Life After Death Row - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Former Inmate Speaks About Life After Death Row

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House holds a photograph he took with Damien Echols, one of the West Memphis Three,  a high profile case that made national news. Echols served 18 years before DNA evidence also led to his release from prison. House holds a photograph he took with Damien Echols, one of the West Memphis Three, a high profile case that made national news. Echols served 18 years before DNA evidence also led to his release from prison.

CROSSVILLE, Tenn.- Everyone was convinced Paul House raped and murdered his neighbor.  He went straight to death row and waited to die for 22 years. But an emerging science, not available at the time of his trial, brought new hope.

For more than two decades, Paul House was behind bars for the rape and the murder of his neighbor, Carolyn Muncey back in 1985, but the United States Supreme Court ruled that DNA evidence raised questions concerning House's guilt.  A new trial was ordered, and then prosecutors dropped the case. 

For the first time since his release, he spoke to NewsChannel 5 about life on the outside, and the continuing effort to clear his name.

"Oh, he's doing great," Joyce House, Paul's mother said smiling and laughing. "He's like a different person."

His mother Joyce is taking care of him at her home in Crossville. The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) has taken its toll on him, but House says not nearly as much as all that time behind bars.

"I regret I've been in prison," said House. "As long as I'm out, I feel alright."

But his mother Joyce says she remembers the handsome young man she once knew, and can't overlook everything the conviction cost her son.

"We were talking one day and he said, ‘You know Mom, they ruined my life. I'm never going to get married, never going to have kids or anything like that,'" Joyce recalled.

It's taken time, but House says he is past the bitterness. He says he played chess in prison to keep his sanity, and when asked about his time there, he nonchalantly sums it up in two words, "Oh well."

There are few who can relate to what he feels which is why House values a photograph he took with Damien Echols, one of the West Memphis Three,  a high profile case that made national news. Echols served 18 years before DNA evidence also led to his release from prison.  House met him this year.

House is free, but to this day he remains a convicted felon.  He's says he's never been officially exonerated, so he can't vote or buy a gun.

Paul House and his mother plan to petition the Tennessee  Department of Probation and Parole for a hearing to argue their case to clear his name in Tennessee.

House was convicted of another felony back before his Tennessee case. That conviction remains on his record.

 

 

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