Hamamatsu (CNN)Sitting in an armchair next to his sister, in a cozy living room in the Japanese city of Hamamatsu, Iwao Hakamada looks like your average 83-year-old grandpa.
This Japanese man spent almost five decades on death row. He could go back
But in 2014, he became the world's longest-serving death row inmate, after spending nearly five decades in a tiny, solitary cell waiting for the hangman's call.
In 1966, the former professional boxer-turned-factory worker was accused of robbery, arson and the murder of his boss, his boss' wife and their two children. The family was found stabbed to death in their incinerated home in Shizuoka, central Japan.
Iwao initially admitted to all charges before changing his plea at trial. He was sentenced to death in a 2-1 decision by judges, despite repeatedly alleging that police had fabricated evidence and forced him to confess by beating and threatening him. The one dissenting judge stepped down from the bar six months later, demoralized by his inability to stop the sentencing.
A pair of blood-spattered, black trousers and his confession were the evidence against Iwao. The alleged motive ranged from a murder by request to theft.
But in 2004, a DNA test revealed that blood on the clothing matched neither Iwao nor the victims' blood type.
In 2014, the Shizuoka District Court ordered a retrial and freed Iwao as he awaited his day in court, on the grounds of his age and fragile mental state. But four years later, the Tokyo High Court scrapped the request for a retrial, for reasons it would not confirm to CNN.
That means Iwao could go back to prison and face the death penalty -- again.
His legal team has launched an appeal to get a retrial and is waiting to hear from the Supreme Court.