By Mai Martinez

(CBS) – What a week for Derrell Fulton.

He walked out of prison Monday and into the arms of family. He served nearly 24 years for a rape and murder he didn’t commit.

So, what has the first 24 hours of freedom been like? CBS 2’s Mai Martinez sat down with Fulton to find out.

Fulton is savoring every moment of his freedom, especially the time spent with his family, including niece Peoria.

It still feels like a dream that after 23 years and nine months he’s finally free, he says. The reality hit him as he enjoyed the peace and quiet of his hotel room Monday night.

“I sat back and said to myself, ‘You made it. You did it.’”

His family was there as Fulton walked out of the Menard Correctional Center. He embraced his sister, Sandy, and then his mother.

“The embrace was like maybe me embracing my mother as a child all those years ago,” Fulton says.

As for the nearly 24 years lost, Fulton says Chicago police detectives forced him to confess to a rape and murder he didn’t commit.


Fulton says he’s trying to focus on other things instead of anger.

“That would pretty much eat away at a person, and I’m just really, really just trying to move forward in my life,” he says.

Fulton is free right now because he was granted a new trial after DNA testing linked the rape to another man.

He’ll have to wait until Dec. 1 to learn if he’ll be tried again.

Right now, Fulton is just looking forward to thanksgiving with his family.