JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville man who was sentenced to life in prison received another chance at freedom thanks to State Attorney Melissa Nelson.
In 2012, Sam Hughlon was 35 years old and already considered a habitual felony offender after a Duval County judge sentenced him to life in prison for armed robbery. Hughlon served seven years of that life sentence and managed to get his conviction amended, which led to his freedom.
"It’s hard to explain the way that life sentence feels. I lay in that bed at night facing that wall, tears in my eyes, thinking, 'I’m going to actually die in here for something I didn’t do,'" Hughlon told News4Jax on Monday.
Police said Hughlon robbed a woman at gunpoint at a North Jacksonville home in 2012. Hughlon was living there at the time of the incident.
"I explained to them that I didn’t do the armed robbery," Hughlon said. "If they actually investigated the things I told them to investigate, they would see that I’m actually innocent."
Police didn’t buy his explanation of events and Hughlon, who was already a convicted felon, found himself back in the criminal justice system. The case went to trial and he lost. The judge sentenced him to life in prison.
"They said (the reasoning was) because I was a habitual offender," Hughlon explained.
While in prison, Hughlon fought to have his case appealed.