Porter's family members joyfully jumped from their seats as state District Judge Joan Campbell made her ruling in a Houston courtroom Friday and soon after, Porter walked out of the Harris County Jail surrounded by his attorney and family members.
Porter says he can honestly say that in spite of everything, he's not angry or bitter. And he says he wouldn't have made it this far without the love and support of his family.
"I always had a family that, we're grounded as Christians and God is the number one thing that I always kept first, and that's what kept me going," he said.
Porter's case stemmed from a robbery and sexual assault at an apartment in southwest Houston on June 18, 1990. Three masked robbers burst into the apartment and sexually assaulted two women inside.
Porter's nephew, Jimmy D. Hatton, now 40 years old, was convicted in the case. According to the Harris County DA's office, Porter was at Hatton's trial and was arrested there when a witness said Porter resembled one of the other gunmen. Porter was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault and sent to prison.
Six years ago, DNA testing did not link Porter to the assault, though the findings reportedly were not enough to prove his innocence. His fingerprints were also not among those found at the scene.
Hatton and an inmate convicted of another crime acknowledged to the district attorney's office that they had participated in the crime, but said that Porter had no involvement. They led investigators to a different suspect, whose fingerprints matched those found at the scene.
During his years in prison, Porter had been unsuccessful in attempts at challenging his conviction. But last year, he wrote District Attorney Pat Lykos personally and appealed to her for a review of the case, which she referred to the Post Conviction Review Section and the investigation was launched.
Porter was released on bond Friday, but hopes to have his conviction formally overturned by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. He'll have to go through a separate process to see restitution from the state.