Family not angry, just thankful

Published 12:03 am Friday, June 24, 2011

Retha Lee Word said she positively, without a doubt, believed in her grandson’s innocence.

Lathan Word was convicted in 2000 for the armed robbery of a Columbus, Ga., convenience store. He has spent nearly 12 years in prison for the crime. After years of appeal tries, he was granted a new trial. On June 20, a judge found him not guilty of the crime, and he was released as a free man.

“I don’t feel angry,” she said. “I feel good because I know he’s here with me. I always felt like that what he was accused of wasn’t so.”

When asked why, Word’s answer was simple.

“I raised him, and I raised him to be a better person,” she said. “I’m so glad he’s home. I love him so.”

On the day of his acquittal, Word said she stood in the courtroom, praying.

“I had lost my husband three months before,” she said. “It happened 12 days before his appeal was reversed. We were there, just waiting and hoping. When the judge said he found him not guilty, it was the best day of my life. We just clapped and clapped and clapped.”