Marvin Mutch is a former California lifer inmate, one of thousands of men recently paroled as the state strains to reduce its prison population. Incarcerated when he was 18 years old, Mutch spent 41 years in prison for a murder he says he did not commit.
Convicted in 1975 solely on circumstantial evidence and questionable tactics by the prosecution, Mutch was never able to prove his innocence. Instead, his only hope for release became parole. By the time he was eligible in the early 1980s, California was embarking on a massive tough-on-crime prison expansion, and lifers effectively lost any hope for release.