PASADENA, TX (KTRK) -- The sound of a football being tossed back and forth echoes through the air of a Pasadena sports field where past memories were made for Val and Dalton Herrera. But today is the start of a new beginning.
"Today is the greatest day of my entire life ever. There's nothing ever, I've lived 49 years of my life," said Val Herrera.
His son Dalton said, "It's been amazing being back with him and spending the day with him."
The father and son have been reunited after a battle that has lasted months. The two can tell you exactly, 217 days. Weeks ago we talked to the father while he waited and he said tearfully, "My son is my whole world."
Herrera was accused in a murder for hire plot against his ex-wife in Brazoria County last year. He lost custody of his son immediately after the allegations. He spent almost three months in jail.
"I can honestly say through this process and especially those 72 days if I did not have a son I probably would not have had the strength or the will because there was so much there and it was so damaging," said the father of the teen athlete.
Dalton said, "He's innocent and he's not what everyone has said. Whatever people think they are wrong."
A Brazoria County grand jury no billed Herrera on criminal solicitation capital murder in May. Herrera thought he would instantly be reunited with his son but he had to wait. "It was tough, really tough," said Dalton.
The "No Contact" order has now been dropped and Val Herrera has custody of his son again. Finding employment as a teacher and coach again will be his next battle. "I'll never get back to who I was. There was a lot taken from me, my insides were torn from me and I'll never recover, ever," said Val Herrera.
Making up for lost time is a start. The two plan on moving back to Las Vegas where Dalton will enroll in a private school and play basketball, football and baseball.
Herrera is pursuing civil action in a case against his ex-wife Michelle, making claims which include defamation. The attorney for Michelle Herrera, Clifford Peel II says she is "prepared to vigorously defend any lawsuit filed by Mr. Herrera."
Father and son reunited after charges now dropped kept them apart