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Man exonerated in armed robbery to walk free after 17 years

Man exonerated in armed robbery to walk free after 17 years

GRETNA, La. (AP) — A man convicted for a 2001 armed robbery in suburban New Orleans has been exonerated after serving more than 17 years behind bars.

The 2003 conviction of 41-year-old Royal Clark Jr. was vacated Thursday morning by a state judge in Jefferson Parish.

Clark, still wearing orange prison garb, was present for the hearing. His parents, sister and son looked on from courtroom seats.

Clark was expected to be released within hours of the hearing.

An advocacy organization, The Innocence Project New Orleans, says Clark was exonerated after fingerprint evidence linked the robbery of a fast food restaurant to another man.