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Man Who Spent 38 Years in Prison on Wrongful Conviction Discusses Experience

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Fred Clay spent 38 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. After being released, he is looking to educate others.

Clay was wrongfully convicted in the 1979 murder of a cab driver in Boston's Roslindale neighborhood.

Wednesday, the AMC Boston Common showcased much more than a film. Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins joined Clay for a public discussion on criminal justice after the screening of "Just Mercy," which depicts the story of a public interest attorney working to free wrongfully convicted prisoners on death row.

"It felt unreal," Clay said of his release. "I was very happy."

Clay said he wasn't even in the neighborhood where the crime occurred.

"I wasn't in Roslindale. I wasn't involved in no parts of the case at all," he said.

Students from Boston schools attended the event and were stunned to learn Clay received a $1 million settlement from the state after the life-altering mistake it made. But Clay said no amount of money was worth spending nearly four decades in prison.

"That statement, 'The truth will set you free,' I had to rethink that," Clay said. "So what I did was I thought about it as far as consciously. It would set me free consciously. They had my body locked up, but my mind was free."

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