MOUNT OLIVE, DUPLIN COUNTY - A Mount Olive man is back home with his family after spending 20 years behind bars for a murder he didn't commit.
"I always said, 'I don't know how long I'm going to have to be in here, but I know one day, I will be free,' " said Larry Lamb, a former prisoner.
A judge last week vacated Larry Lamb's 1993 murder conviction, and on Tuesday, prosecutors dropped the case. Prosecutors say Lamb fatally shot Leamon Grady in Duplin County in February 1987.
It would have been 21 years this month that Lamb had been incarcerated. He said he had no choice but to make the best of his situation.
"Prison life is a hard life, and an individual would chose which path he would take," Lamb said. "There's a negative path and a positive path. I chose to have a positive life."
While in prison, Lamb studied business administration, did gardening, cooking and running. He became very involved in a religious group with several men on death row.
"To be in the midst of those guys, seeing the love they had for one another, that was awesome," Lamb said. "That's an experience I'll never forget."
There was no physical evidence connecting Lamb or his two co-defendants to the crime. The case hinged on the testimony of a woman who claimed she had been with Lamb and the two defendants when they committed the murder.
Now that he's home, Lamb hopes to bring his family closer together.
"Icherish the day that I can just have them all under this one roof, even if it's no longer than for a couple of hours," Lamb said. "Just to have them together at one time, that's my heart's desire."
But Judge W. Douglas Parsons ruled last week that she had a personal and financial motive to make up the story.
His goal now is to inspire children to lead a positive life, as he found.
"It's all worth it in the end -- the experiences I learned," Lamb said. "I don't know where I'll go from here. I'll just take it one day at a time."