Archie Williams: Wrongfully convicted man who spent 37 years in prison now starring on America's Got Talent

‘I always desired to be on a stage like this, and now I’m here’

James Crump
Wednesday 27 May 2020 09:37
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Wrongfully convicted man who spent 37 years in prison now on America's Got Talent

A man who spent 37 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of rape is now starring in the new season of America’s Got Talent (AGT).

Archie Williams was arrested in 1982, and imprisoned in a Louisiana prison the following year, but was released in 2019 after new evidence proved he was innocent.

Mr Williams was sentenced to life in prison, after being convicted of attempted murder, aggravated rape and aggravated burglary, but always maintained his innocence.

According to CNN, there was no trace of any of his fingerprints at the crime scene, but Mr Williams said that “as a poor black kid, I didn’t have the economic ability to fight the state of Louisiana,” in an interview before his AGT performance.

In the 1990s, the Innocence Project took on Mr Williams’ case, and in 2019 his fingerprints were analysed by a new evidence system, that determined he was innocent, according to the outlet.

In his audition for AGT, Mr Williams sang “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” to a standing ovation from both the judges and the crowd.

During the interview before his performance, Mr Williams said that to help him get through the struggles of prison, he would sing, and added: “This is how I got peace.”

The now 58-year-old revealed that while he was in prison, it was a dream of his to perform on the show.

“I watched America’s Got Talent in prison and I would visualise myself there,” Mr Williams said.

“I always desired to be on a stage like this, and now I’m here,” he added.

After the performance, the judges, Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandell and Sofia Vergara gave him a standing ovation, and Mr Cowell praised his performance.

“I will never, ever listen to that song the same way after you sang that,” Mr Cowell said. “This is an audition I will never forget for the whole of my life, Archie.”

Mr Williams’ audition will be shown on NBC at 8pm on Tuesday 26 May.

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