Archie Williams, a US citizen who did 36 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of rape, has emerged a front-runner on the ‘America’s Got Talent (AGT)’ show.
Williams had been sentenced to life without parole in 1982 for the rape and stabbing of a woman at her Baton Rouge home after the victim identified him in a photographic lineup.
It was gathered that, since no strong evidence supported his guilt, he would later be exonerated after the new fingerprint technology matched another man to the crimes for which he was accused.
He would later also earn a standing ovation after he auditioned for the new season of AGT, sharing his story while delivering a critically acclaimed rendition of ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’.
— America's Got Talent (@AGT) May 22, 2020
“I watched ‘America’s Got Talent’ in prison and I would visualize myself there. I always desired to be on a stage like this, and now I’m here,” Williams said.
After his audition, all four judges who were to preside over whether or not to send him to the next round of the competition rose to give him a standing ovation while voting in his favour.
“I will never, ever listen to that song the same way after you sang that. This is an audition I will never forget for the whole of my life, Archie,” Simon Cowell, one of the judges, replied Williams.
Calling Williams personally for an on-stage performance alongside him, Elton John added: “The courage and forgiveness shown by him is truly inspiring.
“The same spirit that the world found so inspiring with Nelson Mandela. I was moved to tears when I heard Archie’s story and saw him perform “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me.
I was moved to tears when I heard Archie’s story and saw him perform "Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me". The courage and forgiveness shown by him is truly inspiring. The same spirit that the world found so inspiring with Nelson Mandela. Love, E xx https://t.co/oYxM3IyvWB
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) May 26, 2020
Williams had been released in March 2019 after attorneys with the Innocence Project New Orleans worked with a national organization alongside the Innocence Project that fights wrong convictions.
It is understood that three people testified that Williams was at home at the time of the crime. However, he would still be sentenced to life in prison without parole, irrespective of his plea.
Serving his sentence, Williams said he’d perform and catch episodes of the show he’d someday audition for, adding that singing saved him from succumbing to the darkness of his situation.
“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,” the now-exonerated man had narrated during his audition.
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