Bruce Lisker and his friend, Mike Ryan, shown, became roommates once Bruce dropped out of high school and his parents rented him an apartment near the family home. Bruce says he believes that it was Mike Ryan who murdered his mother.
Detectives discover a brutal crime scene inside this quaint home in Sherman Oaks in the City of Los Angeles. Dorka Lisker, 66, had been brutally assaulted. She died at the hospital before anyone could interview her.
Inside the front door to the Lisker home is the bloody rug where Dorka Lisker's body lay. That night, Det. Andrew Monsue and Bob Lisker threw away the bloody rug, crucial evidence that was lost forever.
LAPD Det. Andrew Monsue's reflection is captured in this evidence photo of the living room window. Prosecutors used the photo to discredit Bruce Lisker's story that he discovered his mother lying injured when he peered through windows in the rear of the house.
At trial, prosecutors implied this bloody shoe print on the bathroom floor matched Bruce Lisker's. Years later Sgt. Jim Gavin of the LAPD had it analyzed and demonstrated it did not match - indicating another person was at the scene of the crime.
At age 17, Bruce Lisker was sentenced to 16 years to life for his mother's murder. The years passed, the teenager became a man, and all of his appeals failed. But, he says, proving his innocence consumed all of his time.
In California's overcrowded prisons, there are not enough cells for inmates. Bruce Lisker was assigned this bunk, where he displayed his www.freebruce.org towel and a picture of Marilyn Monroe by his pillow.
On Aug. 13 2009, Bruce Lisker walked out of Mule Creek State Prison a free man for the first time in 26 years. His conviction was overturned based on the finding that most of the evidence used to implicate him in the crime had been seriously undermined or proved false.
He faced the press with Private Investigator Paul Ingels, who worked tirelessly for 10 years to win Bruce's release from prison.
"It was really pretty cool, you know," an emotional Paul Ingels, right, tells "48 Hours." "[Bruce] was standing under a tree, and he's staring at this tree and I looked over at him and I said, 'Bruce, you look really weird looking at that tree.' He goes, 'I haven't seen a tree in 26 years.'"
Bruce Lisker speaks during a news conference after being released from Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, Calif., Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009. Lisker was released a week after a judge overturned his murder conviction, citing false trial evidence and sloppy defense work. Lisker, 44, had been behind bars since his mother, Dorka, was beaten and stabbed at her home in March 1983. He was convicted two years later and got 16 years to life.
Bruce Lisker and Kara on a boat ride off of Point Fermin, Calif. Says Lisker, "This is where the Neptune Society distributed both my murdered mother's and my late father's ashes after they were cremated. So it was an emotional pilgrimage for me, and Kara came along for support."
Bruce Lisker and his fiancee, Kara, sport big smiles and "I voted" stickers after California's gubernatorial election on Nov. 2, 2010. "We'd just voted, each of us for the first
time! She, a new citizen, and me, well, a new citizen!" he says.