Ricky Davis was convicted of second-degree murder in the 1985 fatal stabbing of 54-year-old Jane Hylton. He walked free from prison Thursday, CNN affiliate KOVR
reported, hours after becoming the first person in California to be exonerated with the help of genetic genealogy -- the combination of DNA analysis and family tree research.
In 1985, Hylton was found dead inside an El Dorado Hills, California, home that she shared with her daughter, Davis and his then-girlfriend, and another woman, according to the Northern California Innocence Project
, which represented Davis.
Davis and his girlfriend, who were returning from a party, along with Hylton's daughter, who had been out with friends, found Hylton dead in one of the bedrooms, the NCIP said.
The case went cold until 1999, when investigators reopened the case. Police interrogated Davis' girlfriend several times and she ultimately changed her story, implicating Davis and herself in Hylton's death, the NCIP said.
In 2005, Davis was convicted and sentenced to 16 years to life in state prison, authorities said. His girlfriend received a year
in county jail.
After his conviction, the Northern California Innocence Project took on Davis' case and requested the El Dorado County district attorney do post-conviction DNA testing. In 2014, forensic experts began an "extremely meticulous process" of exami