Reuters reports that a man who served 37 years for a rape he didn’t commit has been freed. Malcolm Alexander was convicted in 1980 of a rape he always maintained he was innocent of, and a Jefferson Parish judge overturned his conviction.

The Innocence Project applied to have Alexander’s conviction overturned arguing his defense attorney provided ineffective assistance. DNA testing also excluded him as a suspect.

Alexander was charged for the November 8, 1979 rape of a 39-year-old woman who was working at the time in an antique shop. She told police she was raped twice by her attacker while threatening her with a gun.

DNA evidence was once thought lost but was rediscovered in 2013, including pubic hairs not belonging to Alexander.

His trial lasted one day and his attorney did not provide an opening statement or call any witnesses, according to court records. Innocence Project attorney Vanessa Potkin stated that “His trial lawyer did virtually nothing to defend him,” adding that the defense also failed to mention in court that the victim was unsure of her identification of Alexander as her attacker.

Alexander was originally convicted of aggravated rape and sentenced to life in prison on December 10, 1980.

In 1999, Alexander’s defense attorney was permanently disbarred for multiple infractions, including dishonesty, fraud, deceit and lack of diligence and competence, according to court records.

Alexander’s mother, Maudra, who is 82 and wheelchair bound, told the Innocence Project, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for getting my child out of that place.”

*Photo credit Michelle Hunter/NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune