Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityMan wrongfully convicted of capital murder, reflects on anniversary of exoneration day | KDBC
Close Alert

Man wrongfully convicted of capital murder, reflects on anniversary of exoneration day

Facebook Share IconTwitter Share IconEmail Share Icon
Comment bubble

Saturday marks one year since Daniel Villegas has officially been a free man.

Villegas was wrongfully convicted of murder and served 18 years in prison

Villegas was wrongfully convicted on capital murder charges for the deaths of two El Paso teens. He got out on appeal in 2014, but his fate was still uncertain.

Life as a free man, where to even begin?

"Hit the triangle,” said Villegas playing a video game with his daughter.

As the family sits in their living room, Villegas’ four-year-old son gets upset and starts crying.

"It's been hectic, you know, three kids,” said Villegas with a chuckle.

"Every time we have a chaotic day, I tell Daniel all the time, would you rather this, or would you rather still be behind bars,” said his wife Amanda Villegas as they both laughed.

A little over a year ago, Daniel Villegas wasn't sure if he'd be here now, laughing and playing in his living room.

"After the verdict, the first few months it's kind of like you're still in a state of shock,” said Villegas.

And shock was just the beginning.

"Once that started wearing down, a lot of issues started happening,” said Villegas. “You start thinking about how wrong you got done. You start getting frustrated, anxious, getting mad."

Villegas said it’s been a journey healing from being wrongly accused.

"I had to like literally get away from like a lot of people and just focus on getting me right,” he said.

It's family that's helped Villegas’s light shine through the darkness.

"Thank god I just stayed home with the kids, and Amanda,” said Villegas. “It was just like all the love, and it just got me right back on track. Amanda is always there for me."

Villegas said outside of his day job and being a family man, he’s tried to find purpose.

"We've talked to people that were given the offer plea like me,” said Villegas.

He and his wife Amanda now advocate for others who too, may have been wrongly convicted.

Though Villegas is still healing, he’s thankful for his life now with family, as a free man.

"What I’m trying to figure out is where am I going to be, said Villegas. “Where is Daniel Villegas going to play out, what am I going to be?”

CBS 4 also got to spend some time with Villegas at his job the other day. We’ll bring you part two of what that aspect of his life has been like this past year, plus the role his wife specifically has played in helping him heal.

Comment bubble

This story will be updated later Saturday night.

Loading ...