Miami Man Accused Of Murder Freed After 12 Years In Prison

A Miami man was freed Tuesday after spending 12 years in prison for a murder committed outside a nightclub in 2005, prosecutors said. 

The Miami-Dade County state attorney's office dropped the charges against Andre Gonzalez. 

Journalism students from Medill Justice Project at Northwestern University collected new evidence in the case, which helped set Gonzalez free.

"I've been fighting for my life for so many years, you know," Gonzalez told local news outlets. "I was accused of a bad crime that I didn't commit." 

Police said Gonzalez tried to rob Nigel Whatley and Michael Morris near Players nightclub at Northwest Seventh Avenue and Northwest 79th Street on Oct. 1, 2005. 

Whatley fought back and was wounded in the struggle. 

Police said Gonzalez then shot Morris and Whatley several more times as he fled the scene.

Whatley was killed, but Morris survived. 

Police said they found Gonzalez's DNA on a hat found at the scene. 

In 2010, a jury convicted Gonzalez of second-degree murder and other charges. He was sentenced to life in prison.

But in 2015, students with the Medill Justice Project interviewed an inmate who told them the gunman was not Gonzalez, but a DJ who worked at the nightclub. 

Prosecutors maintain Gonzalez is guilty, but they decided not to move forward with the case.

"The state of Florida, in no way, believes that this defendant is innocent of the crime," prosecutors said in a close-out memorandum. "However, in light of the changes in the evidence, we are unable to again prove Tony Brown's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt as required by law. Therefore, the state of Florida must nolle prosse the case."

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