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Boston man who says he was wrongfully convicted freed from prison

Citing withheld evidence, a judge has freed a Boston man who spent 28 years in prison for a killing he says he did not commit, while the court weighs whether he deserves a new trial.

Stephen Pina, 54, hugged his 28-year-old son when he was released on Wednesday, The Boston Globe reported.

Pina was convicted of the 1993 fatal shooting of a man in Boston's Mission Hill neighborhood.

Judge Peter Krupp, in releasing Pina, cited new revelations that prosecutors and Boston police withheld evidence that could have pointed to another suspect, and buried compromising information about a key witness. The judge said there was a “fairly high” likelihood that Pina would win a new trial.

Pina has not been exonerated. First, the court will hold a hearing next month to take a closer look at the evidence.

“We still have a fight ahead of us,” said Ira Grant, Pina’s attorney. “This is not a full exoneration yet, but this is a giant step forward. Not only does he get to be with his family, but it is the court announcing we have very favorable grounds for a new trial.”

The office of Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden in a statement said it had agreed to the additional hearing “to provide a more substantive review of the facts surrounding this case.”

Boston police declined comment.

“My main goal from day one has always been to prove my innocence and get exonerated,” Pina said. “All I want to do is clear my name and let it be known that I’m innocent. That vindication is not only for me, it’s for my mother and my son and his mother."

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