El Paso, Texas (KDBC) — A dream comes true after nearly two decades; Daniel Villegas is finally a free man for the first time in 19 years.
Villegas was released shortly after noon to an anxious crowd of family and friends waiting to spend the day with him. His family promised to give Daniel his dream day.
"I never thought this day would come and now that it's here it feels like I said like I'm dreaming," Villegas said.
Cries broke, laughs erupted, and hugs shared by dozens of his family and friends. Daniel left the jail very differently than when he arrived in an almost triumphant departure.
His ride was a classical convertible Impala and his first stop St. Pius Church in Central El Paso.
"The first thing I wanted to do was go to church and thank God, that was the first thing on my mind if it wasn't for God, I wouldn't even be on this place right now, I'd still be sitting in a cell somewhere in Abilene Texas or somewhere," Villegas added.
After several minutes of prayer the family headed to Great American Land and Cattle Steak House in Northeast El Paso where Daniel had his first meal outside prison.
Villegas said after so long everything seems new.
"To see all the freeways painted and all nice and pretty that was amazing and then to see all these new buildings I mean El Paso has gotten really beautiful," Daniel added.
But there's still a possibility of another battle if El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza decides to prosecute. Attorney Joe Spencer said he's ready.
"The Judge's office has given the District Attorney a week to make a decision of what they want to do and at some point there’s going to have to make that decision," Attorney Joe Spencer said.
However Daniel’s priority right now is to get his life back.
"I want to go and see what course I can do for college, to get involved in a bunch of charities and trying to get as many people as we can out of prison that were wrongfully convicted so they can have this feeling like I'm feeling right now," Villegas said.
According to Spencer another hearing will be held next week to determine what's next for Villegas.