2 inmates released from prison after murder conviction vacated

CALIFORNIA (KTRK) -- Two California men who spent years in prison for crimes they said they didn't commit are now free.

Friday, 43-year-old Michael Tirpak walked out of prison for the first time in 25 years after having his murder conviction vacated.

"I feel excited and happy, all at the same time. Appreciative," Tirpak said.

Also, 35-year-old Reggie Mallard is a free man after serving 16 years for a murder he didn't commit.

Loyola law school students and professors found new evidence in both of the men cases.

"These are great people, you know. Without them I wouldn't be here. They fought hard to get me home and I'm just thankful to have them in my corner," Mallard said.

The law students said that they interviewed several witnesses and read through police reports for both cases.

"It's tough to be 17-years-old and in the hands of the police. It's tough to prove your innocence," law student Chris Hawthorne said.

Tirpak said he counseled younger inmates while he was in prison and hopes to do similar work now that he's free.

He also got married two year years ago while behind bars, and is looking forward to starting a new life with his wife.
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