Exonerated Man Says Meditation, Family, Faith Helped Him Behind Bars

Tony Wright spent 25 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit and was exonerated after DNA evidence supported his innocence.
6:29 | 10/05/16

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Transcript for Exonerated Man Says Meditation, Family, Faith Helped Him Behind Bars
Tonight you're going to see the first moments of freedom for a man who did 25 years for a crime he didn't commit. He's been released into a modern world that may as well be another planet. Now navigating cell phones, employment, and the question what role, if any, should anger play in his life? You are watching what Tony Wright calls the best day of his life. Walking out of prison taking his first steps as a newly freed man. God is good! God is good! God is good! Reporter: Grateful even after spending the last 25 years locked up for a brutal crime he didn't commit. The 1991 rape and murder of 77-year-old Louise tally. Wright was sentenced to life in prison. He was just 20 years old when he was arrested. When you found yourself in shackles, being accused of rape and murder, and on your way to jail, what was going through your mind? Man, I was crying inside like a baby. But I couldn't let those guys see it, man. I was numb. My whole body shut down. Reporter: He says after the police in Philadelphia questioned him, a detective came in with papers for him to sign. I wanted to look at the papers, see what I was signing. They said, just sign, you can go home. Everything they told me to do, I did. Reporter: The papers contained a detailed confession written in longhand by the detective, even noting the black sweatshirt with Chicago bulls and a pair of blue jeans with suede on them that detectives say they later found at Tony's apartment. Years later, DNA evidence would tell a very different story. A team of lawyers, including peter newfeld and Nina Morrison with the innocence project, fought for years just to get permission to conduct DNA tests on the rape kit and on that clothing entered into evidence. When that DNA evidence came back and showed that you had not raped her, what was going through your mind? One of the happiest days of my life. I wanted my family to know that I was innocent. I wanted miss tally's family to know that Anthony Wright didn't commit the heinous crime against their loved one. Reporter: You might think the story ends here. That with the magic bullet of DNA, Tony would be immediately released. You would be wrong. Anthony Wright still in state prison facing I can tell you a retrial -- The prosecutor decided, I don't care, I'm going to take it to trial, I'm going to invent a new theory of guilt, even if I have no evidence to support it. That's so offensive, it's so immoral. Reporter: Just six weeks ago, a second jury deliberated for less than an hour. The foreman said in a loud and clear voice, not guilty, and looked right at Tony. He started to cry. I think I let out the loudest scream in the courtroom. Tony's legs started to buckle. One of the most profound moments of my 44 years at that time. Reporter: Jurors embraced him after the retrial. The evidence was so compelling for Tony that there really could have been no other verdict. Reporter: In statements to ABC news, the Philadelphia d.a.'s office stood by its decision to retry Tony and the evidence collected by police, saying the verdict only shows that the jury did not find that Anthony Wright's guilt was proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Nationally, nearly two-thirds of all the people exonerated through DNA evidence are african-american. It's hardly unreasonable to conclude that there is some racial bias at work. Certainly there are questions that need to be answered about why Tony was wrongfully prosecuted in the first place. Congratulations. Appreciate it. Thanks so much. Reporter: Two days after Tony's exoneration, we caught up with him in fill. This is Independence plaza -- Reporter: As he was trying to get a toehold in his new life. Wow. Reporter: One of his lawyers, Sam silver, by his side. A passing reminder of life on the inside -- I was just on that bus a couple days ago. Reporter: A bus carrying some of his old prisonmates to court. Tony's freedom comes with something he has not had in a quarter century -- choice. Everything from what to eat -- Good? Oh, man. Reporter: To which eyeglasses to wear. That's cool. Look at that. Your first picture. Reporter: And then there's that new cell phone to figure out. Cell phones didn't exist 25 years ago. All this is new to me. Reporter: The cost of all of this mostly paid for by the innocence project. Tony seemed so happy. Always try to find the good out of every situation. For every person that pointed the finger at me, there's a person that gives me the thumbs up. That's what I focus on. They locked my body. But my mind was always free. Reporter: But I couldn't help but wonder -- How are you not angry? If you're angry, you're angry all the time. It will ruin you. It will ruin you. Reporter: He says it's all about faith, family, and one other thing -- Sit comfortably. Feel your Brett coming in and going out -- Reporter: Meditation, which he says he learned behind bars. Yeah, come on, man. Reporter: In New York City not long ago, we were right there as Tony visited the offices of the people who helped to set him free, the innocence project. At this point, he'd been out for about three weeks and he just learned that one of his lawyer had helped him land a job at the federal courthouse. Every day, every day. They told you that? Told me that. Reporter: He told us he was looking forward to that first day on the job. I could just stay here all day just like this. Reporter: While savoring every moment of his new freedom. Inside you couldn't do this. You go take a shower with your boots on. And to be outside with your shoes on is -- it's unbelievable, man. Reporter: After so much time was stolen from him, he says he doesn't have a minute to waste. You can hear much more of my conversation with Tony Wright about the role of meditation and yoga in his life on the 10% happier podcast available on abcnews.com and on apple podcasts. Search for 10% happier.

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

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