Newly Freed Man Talks About Life After Prison

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COLUMBIA - After serving 20 years in prison, Anthony Williams is a free man Thursday.

34-year-old Williams was sentenced to life without parole for the 1993 murder of 14-year-old Cortez Andrews outside a St. Louis dance hall. Williams was 14 at the time, but stood trial as an adult. A Cole County judge overthrew his first-degree murder conviction in June. Williams' conviction changed to second-degree murder, and his 20 years in prison earned his freedom.

After making his final appearance at a St. Louis County courthouse Thursday, Williams came to Columbia. He said the first thing he wanted to do was pick up a cell phone.

"I think it's going to be difficult to adjust, but I have a lot of time on my hands," Williams said. "I plan to use it to learn how to work a cell phone, go to school, and just pick up the pieces of my life." 

Defense attorney Jennifer Bukowsky said seeing Williams set free is a highlight of her career. Williams said he plans to enter a halfway house in Columbia to help transition into society.

"I'm eager and I'm excited," Williams said. "I'm a little afraid, but I have a lot of support and I think I'll be just fine."

[Editor's Note: This story was updated to clarify why Williams was released.}