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New Law Helps Release SA Four, Gives Hope to Others Wrongfully Convicted

Photo: Photo by Mary Tuma, License: N/A

Photo by Mary Tuma

L-R: Elizabeth Ramirez, Anna Vasquez, Kristie Mayhugh and Cassandra Rivera

“We never committed a crime and we want to make sure it’s clear,” said Ramirez. “We don’t want to live a lie, with stipulations or regulations or a title on us. That’s why the exoneration is so important.”

For now, Ramirez, Rivera, Mayhugh and Vasquez have their lives back. After missing births, deaths and milestones, they’re now able to participate in “all those things you take for granted,” as they put it. Ramirez heard her son say ‘I love you’ for the very first time. Rivera is finally getting the chance to spend precious moments with her two-year-old granddaughter, who waited for her grandmother outside the detention center obediently despite the numerous delays that pushed well into the evening.

“It was hard. I lost everything with my children,” said Rivera. “I had to watch them grow up through glass, through letters, through the phone. That’s the hardest thing a mother could deal with when you love your children so much. I think that’s what hurt the most.”

And as they await the appeals court verdict, there is little doubt the women will lose the resolve and determination that held them strong behind bars for so many years.

“I’ve been locked up for 16 years,” said Ramirez. “If I have to wait my whole life for it, I will.”

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