SALEM, Ore. - Scott Cannon is a free man after spending a decade in prison for a triple-murder conviction that was dismissed by a judge Friday.
Cannon walked out of the Polk County Jail Friday a free man and into the arms of his son 20-year-old son, Mathias, who was just shy of his ninth birthday when his father was arrested.
“Look at you! Look at you!” his son said.
When asked how he felt about being free, Cannon said, “Man. It’s pretty good, pretty good.”
Cannon spent more than 11 years behind bars and most of that in the maximum security Oregon State Prison after being convicted and sentenced to life for murdering three people at a Salem trailer.
A KATU investigation that began more than year ago exposed serious flaws in the case against Cannon. The investigation uncovered new witnesses that were never questioned in the case and revealed how outdated and flawed bullet lead science was used to convict Cannon.
Additionally, it was discovered that physical evidence against Cannon was destroyed, and earlier this week a new judge on his case said without that evidence, Cannon should be set free.
“You guys have been on it with the case over at Channel 2 and this is a good day and you guys helped a lot with that,” said Cannon’s son Mathias.
Cannon agreed. “I think investigative journalism has played a huge part,” he said.
Cannon’s father, Gordon, said he mortgaged his home and spent more than a decade of his time and $300,000 of his own money trying to prove his son’s innocence.
“We just couldn’t give up,” Gordon Cannon said. “We felt he was innocent, so why should we quit.”
Friday afternoon Cannon returned to his Salem home with his family a free man for the first time in more than 11 years.
“I don’t have the words to articulate it right now,” Scott Cannon said. “The reality will probably kick in over the next couple of days I would think.”
Cannon said he plans to go back to college and finish his degree in psychology but for now he said he is just happy to be home with his family for the holidays.
He said it is going to be a great Christmas.
Even on Friday new witnesses were found in the case. A woman said she knew the three victims and said her ex-boyfriend admitted to the murders even before Cannon was arrested.
She said she called the Polk County sheriff’s office but said they were not interested in hearing her story.
The Polk County District Attorney Stan Butterfield said in a statement released Friday that he has changed policy so mistakes like the ones that occurred in the Cannon case don’t happen again.
He did not elaborate on what those changes were.
Butterfield said the case into the deaths of the three people “is now an open murder investigation.”