Waukegan man wrongfully convicted of rape to walk out of prison Tuesday

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WAUKEGAN, Ill. -- Monday, after being wrongfully imprisoned for 21 years, a Waukegan man learned the rape conviction against him had been thrown out. But there was a much lesser charge still hanging over his head -- the only thing keeping him from his freedom.

But  Tuesday evening 41-year-old Angel Gonzalez tasted freedom for the first time in decades.

In court yesterday, Angel Gonzalez, the wrongfully convicted man, told his lawyer, "I feel alive again."

That was after a judge tossed out the conviction pinning him with a 1994 rape he never committed.

New DNA science cleared him of that crime. It was a joyous moment for him and his relatives who filled the courtroom and maintained his innocence all along. But his legal troubles were far from over.

Tuesday, his lawyers were in court again on a lesser charge against Gonzalez: He was convicted of breaking a sink while in isolation at the Pontiac prison and got three more years for that.

Late Tuesday afternoon a Livingston County judge dismissed that case, too, allowing Angel Gonzalez, once a young man with his future ahead of him, to get a second chance after spending half of his life behind bars.

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