• Thomas Raynard James was released Wednesday after spending 32 years in jail
  • He had been wrongfully convicted in connection to the death a man who got fatally shot in 1990
  • A late investigation conducted by Florida prosecutors determined that James was innocent

"Mistaken identification" and "chance coincidence" resulted in a Florida man being wrongfully convicted and spending more than 30 years in jail.

A Miami-Dade judge vacated the conviction and life sentence of Thomas Raynard James, 55, Wednesday, NBC 6 reported.

James got convicted of first-degree murder and armed robbery in 1991 in connection to the death of Francis McKinnon, who was fatally shot during a robbery in a Coconut Grove apartment the previous year.

He was reportedly tied to the incident after witnesses and tipsters claimed the gunman was named Thomas James or Tommy James, as per The New York Times.

James' conviction rested primarily on the testimony of McKinnon's stepdaughter, Dorothy Walton, who had been in the apartment and identified the then-23-year-old as the gunman after police put his photo in a lineup.

"I'm positive of it. I will never forget his face. I will never forget his eyes," Walton testified during the trial.

No evidence tied James or anyone else to the crime, prosecutors said.

A later investigation conducted by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office in cooperation with James' lawyer, Natlie G. Figgers, determined that reasonable doubt existed in James' conviction and that he was innocent of the charges.

Walton would also admit that she made a mistake decades after the trial, CBS 4 reported.

"In brief, what appears to be a chance coincidence that the defendant, Thomas Raynard James, had the same name as a suspect named by witnesses and anonymous tipsters as Thomas James or Tommy James" led to his "mistaken identification" as the gunman who fatally shot McKinnon, prosecutors said in their appeal to throw out James' conviction.

James was released Wednesday, the same day Judge Miguel de la O vacated his conviction and sentence. He spent 32 years in prison.

"I actually short-circuited right there. I don’t know what I was feeling. To describe it, put it into words, all I know is it felt good," James said following the judge’s decision.

When a reporter asked James about the first thing he would do after being released, he replied, "Go enjoy my family and eat chicken!"

James' release was "frustrating" for McKinnon's family since "what they believed was a just result for the loss of their loved one has been stolen from them."

"We thought the case was resolved. At this point, now we’re being told we had it wrong, and there’s nothing else we can do," Charles McKinnon, one of Francis' sons, said.

Representation. Thomas Raynard James was convicted of first-degree murder and armed robbery over the death of Francis McKinnon, who was fatally shot during a robbery in 1990. WolfBlur/Pixabay