(CNN)A Georgia man who served 17 years of a 20-year sentence has been exonerated from his rape conviction and released from prison, after a judge agreed that new analysis of DNA evidence clears him.
Thanks to a new DNA analysis, a Georgia man is exonerated of rape and freed from prison after 17 years
Kerry Robinson, 44, walked out of prison in southern Georgia on Wednesday and into the arms of his sister, his son and other supporters, hours after a Colquitt County judge vacated his 2002 conviction and sentence.
"Modern DNA technology has further confirmed what we've known for a long time: Kerry Robinson is an innocent man," one of his lawyers, Rodney Zell, said in a news release from the Georgia Innocence Project, which helped push for Robinson's exoneration.
"I am so grateful that new technology is finally able to meet the incredibly high thresholds for righting wrongful convictions in Georgia," Zell said.
The key, supporters say, was new analysis of the very DNA evidence that was used to convict him. In other words: New technology shows that the interpretation presented at trial was wrong, and that in fact Robinson's DNA is not there, the project says.
Robinson's conviction stemmed from a case in 1993, when three young men raped a woman at gunpoint at her home in Moultrie, about 40 miles north of the Florida state line.
From pictures in a junior high school yearbook, the woman identified one attacker who would later be convicted.
But that attacker accused Robinson of being involved -- which Robinson denied. Robinson has said he thinks the attacker implicated him because Robinson had reported him to police in a different investigation, according to the Georgia Innocence Project, a nonprofit that aims to overturn wrongful convictions.
The rape survivor never identified Robinson as a perpetrator, the nonprofit says.