Man convicted in NYC subway murder freed 25 years later

Johnny Hicapie walked out of the courthouse Tuesday a free man after serving 25 years for a notorious 1990 subway murder that he has maintained he did not commit. But he could face a retrial, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller.

Hincapie insists he was simply an innocent bystander and police beat him, coercing him into confessing to the murder of a tourist from Utah.

Now 43, Hincapie says he feels "wonderful" and "free."

"Shame on those individuals that had knowledge of what happened to me, but I forgive them," Hincapie said.

Tourist Brian Watkins was on a subway platform on Sept. 3, 1990 when he was stabbed in the chest after a struggle with at least six teenagers who robbed his father and hit his mother.

Publications urged the mayor to "do something" as the city faced a record murder rate--more than 2,200 people were killed that year.

Within 25 hours, police rounded up eight suspects, including Hincapie. He was convicted in 1991.

This July, three witnesses came forward to say Hincapie was not on the subway platform when the stabbing happened.

"Johnny was innocent since the beginning. He didn't have nothing to do with the case," said his father, Carlos Hincapie.

But a state judge is ordering a new trial, saying there was not enough evidence to dismiss the case entirely.

Prosecutors could appeal the decision or retry Hincapie.

"It's enormously difficult for both families. They're united in grief, but they should not be united in injustice," said Defense Attorney Ron Kuby.

With family by his side, Hincapie celebrated his release with a seafood dinner, where he toasted his future.

"I have plans of my own, but I have to see how feasible they are being how the world has changed after so long," Hincapie said.

According to his lawyer, Hincapie finished high school and earned a bachelor's and master's degree while in prison. He has already served the minimum sentence for murder.