Woman convicted of mother's murder granted a new trial: Part 5

Rather than go through another trial, Noura Jackson signed an Alford plea, and after 15 months, she was released from prison.
5:55 | 03/25/17

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Transcript for Woman convicted of mother's murder granted a new trial: Part 5
Reporter: After 12 days and 40 witnesses, the jury has heard enough. All right, verdict reads as follows. We the jury find the defendant guilty of second degree murder. Circumstantial evidence just drew a tight noose around her and there was no way she could get out of that. Reporter: Noura bows her head while her dead mother's sisters and friends exchange hugs. I just couldn't believe it. It's -- they didn't prove anything. How do you convict this child? I really was of the belief that, you know, I would go to trial, and I would prove that I'm innocent, and then I will get to go home. And I think I was in shock. We are disappointed with the verdict. Reporter: Years later, noura is still haunted by her decision not to testify. Are you sorry you didn't? Oh, I'm beyond sorry that I didn't. But I don't like to live in a world of regret. You know, there's nothing I can do about that. Reporter: It's true that there was virtually no forensic evidence against noura, and yet the jury convicted her. Were you overconfident? Too cocky? Oh, I don't think I could be described as that. It was very difficult to sit through two weeks of family members, friends, neighbors, and other people, focusing on behavior that did not prove she had killed her mother. Reporter: During the following years in prison, only Ansley and a handful of other friends visit noura. Was it tough on you? Made you a tough person? Yes, it's definitely survival of the fittest. Reporter: Valerie corder never stops fighting for noura. Over the next 11 years, while her client is doing her "Orange is the new black" thing, corder appeals the case all the way up to the Tennessee supreme court with newsworthy results. More information on the Jackson case. Reporter: Remember prosecutor Amy Weirich's big law and order moment? Just tell us where you were, that's all we're asking, noura. Reporter: Those words, according to corder, violated noura's constitutional right not to testify. It was a rhetorical question, but the supreme court in their wisdom decided that that was a comment on noura's choice to remain silent. Reporter: And remember that key witness Andrew Hammack, the only one who put noura at the crime scene? It turns out the prosecution never disclosed this contradictory statement. He had written a handwritten note saying, oh, yeah, I was totally drugged out and high as a kite at the time, so I don't remember it all that well. Reporter: He was rolling on ecstasy, he wrote. We know now, his misstatement of the evidence is rather clear. I'm like, I was ecstatic. I didn't even believe it. And it said noura Jackson to receive new trial. I can't even begin to express the emotions, but it seemed surreal. Reporter: So, in your opinion, this entire trial was -- It was a joke. But it wasn't a joke. Because the punch line is noura Jackson spends 11 1/2 years in the frigging pen. Reporter: For something -- She did not do it. Reporter: Now, a retrial looms. But it doesn't look like that throng of prosecution witnesses is too eager for a repeat performance. Other witnesses have not been able to be located and yet other witnesses have indicated to us that they will not be willing to come forward. Reporter: So both sides compromise. Noura signs what's called an Alford plea. She basically said, "I will accept responsibility for this. I will take the punishment for this, but I have to be able to say that I didn't do it. I'm not going to admit guilt." It counts as a guilty plea and it counts as a conviction. So that under the law you are guilty. It's very likely that it would have taken another year, if not two years, to have gotten her case to trial. It is a way to end this decade-long drama and trauma to be able to leave prison and begin your life. I felt pressured and I had no -- I wanted my life back. Reporter: Still, it takes another 15 months until noura is finally sprung from the big house. Greeted by her friend after more than a decade behind bars. Reporter: As for Amy Weirich, she's now the county district attorney, but found herself facing ethics charges from the state. Prosecutor Amy Weirich is up on charges of professional misconduct. She's refused to give us an interview so we're waiting here to demand answers. All right, let's go. I'm John Quinones with "20/20." We'd like to talk to you about the noura Jackson case. Not right now. Reporter: We've been trying to get in touch with you. The state has called for your public censure, for botching that murder case. It's not a fair assessment at all and it will play itself out in the appropriate forum. Reporter: Your trial errors either sent an innocent girl to prison or they let a killer go free. Which is worse? She killed her mother and did her time for it. Reporter: We'd really like to talk to you about this. Why can't we sit down and talk to you? You can make an appointment like everybody else. Reporter: We tried. Judge craft, on the other hand, is happy to discuss the case. I thought noura Jackson had a very fair trial and she was obviously guilty and I ruled she was obviously guilty.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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