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Man Wrongfully Imprisoned For 37 Years Auditions For America’s Got Talent

Wrongfully incarcerated singer Archie Charles Williams – America’s Got Talent 2020 5-25 screenshot

Archie Charles Williams, a man who spent 37 years of his life at Louisiana State Penitentiary for a crime he didn’t commit has auditioned for America’s Got Talent.


In anticipation of the fifteenth season of the American talent show, Simon Cowell on Friday shared a moving preview of Williams audition. In a performance that moved the judging panel and members of the audience to tears, Williams sang Elton John and George Michael’s hit “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”.

“This is Archie Williams. I will never forget this audition for the rest of my life. And I’ll never listen to this song in the same way ever again.”

Williams was convicted in 1983 for the rape and stabbing of a woman at her home in the Hundred Oaks area of Baton Rouge after the victim identified him in a photographic lineup presented by investigators.

Even though none of the fingerprints matched Archie during his trial and three different people testified that he was at home at the time, he was still sentenced to life without the possibility of parole or probation.

Speaking to AGT host Terry Crews, Williams said:

“I knew I was innocent, I didn’t commit a crime but being a poor black kid, I didn’t have the ability to fight the state of Louisiana.”

Archie Williams was exonerated in March 2019, thanks to the help of the Innocence Project New Orleans, when improvements in evidence technology proved fingerprints taken at the scene of the crime belonged to another man — a serial rapist who went free while Williams was serving his sentence.

“Freedom is of the mind, I went to prison but I never let my mind go to prison.”

Watch Williams’ full audition below:

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