UPDATE: Haynesworth released today after 27 years in prison

By Evrod Cassimy – bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – He's been behind bars for nearly three decades, telling anyone who would listen, that he was innocent. Monday morning, he was released.

Someone finally listened to former Virginia inmate, Thomas Haynesworth. Friday he was suddenly granted parole and was released Monday morning.

"I won't believe it until I see him walk through the gate with a smile on his face," said sister, Sandra Haynesworth on Friday.

It's the day the entire Haynesworth family has waited for. After 27 years, Thomas Haynesworth is being released from prison on parole.

"I couldn't believe it when my mom called and told me," said sister, Beverly Haynesworth. "I told her don't be calling me getting me all hyped up!"

"I was doing the happy feet dance you know this morning!" added Sandra.

Haynesworth's sisters, and a niece and nephew he has never met, thought they'd never see the day. Haynesworth was sentenced to prison for 74 years, but after review from the Virginia Parole Board he's been granted a conditional release.

"We look at the nature of the crime, the amount of the sentence, the time that he served, how he's acted while he's been in prison," said Virginia Parole Board chairman, Bill Muse.

Back in 1984, Haynesworth was convicted of two rapes, robbery and abduction, crimes that he and his family has denied his involvement in. Then in 2009, DNA test results proved his innocence in two of the crimes. Because of that his family questions the condition of his release.

"Why is he on parole?" asked Sandra. "I mean, if he didn't do the crime so just release him. Why does there gotta be a parole in this? But a little bit is better than nothing at all so we gotta go with baby steps on this one."

The family is just glad to be reunited once again.

"We are home at last! Free at last!" shouted Sandra.

Haynesworth is still fighting to clear his name in "all" of the crimes he was convicted of.

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