Several family members and friends were waiting on pins and needles as David Robinson inched his way this week beyond the prison walls at the Jefferson City Correctional Center. They exclaimed, “Here he comes! It’s him! It’s him! Whew! Whew!”

Robinson’s mother awaits the arrival of her son

After more than 17 years behind bars, Robinson was released around 10 p.m. on Monday and cleared of the 2001 murder of Sheila Box. He was serving life without parole in the Sikeston woman’s death.

The first thing Robinson vowed to do if he left prison was hug his mother. As he embraced her, a dry eye was nowhere to be seen.

“I love you mama,” said Robinson as they wept in each other’s arms. “I love you too,” she said.

Another man admitted to killing Box fourteen years ago – yet Robinson remained behind bars until Attorney General Josh Hawley’s order this week stating that Robinson should be released. The move is in response to a judge appointed by the state Supreme Court saying earlier this year that Robinson had proven by clear and convincing evidence that he is innocent of Box’s murder.

“I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for trusting and believing in my son,” Robinson’s mother said. “Y’all didn’t give up. Y’all didn’t give up and I thank you for it. Oh Lord! I asked the Lord. The dream has come true!”

Box’s daughter, Crystal King, also supported the release of Robinson.

During the reunion, Robinson spoke for several minutes to Missourinet, KRCG-TV and a filmmaker. He thanked a long list of supporters.

Robinson embraces his mother and girlfriend

“I’m just happy to be here. Martin Luther King said ‘Free at last! Thank God Almighty I’m free at last!’ I’m free! They didn’t break my spirit, mama,” Robinson said as he cried hysterically.

Robinson, whose 50th birthday is approaching, said “the whole world is going to know about my birthday.”

After losing so many years behind bars, Robinson’s lawyer said they have no immediate plans to take legal action but will have that discussion.

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