DALLAS - Two men who were wrongly convicted for the death of a South Dallas minister were exonerated Friday.
Stanley Mozee and Dennis Allen spent 15 years behind bars for fatally stabbing Reverend Jesse Borns Jr. in 1999.
DNA evidence helped clear Allen and Mozee of the murder charge that cost them 15 years of freedom.
Their convictions were reversed after the Innocence Project got involved. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found that prosecutors suppressed exculpatory evidence during the trial and failed to correct false and misleading testimony from witnesses.
Although Mozee and Allen were released from prison more than five years ago, they were declared “actually innocent” during Friday’s hearing.
They are now able to receive compensation from the state for the time they spent behind bars.
Mozee and Allen were all smiles as they walked out of the courtroom Friday morning, and instead of bitterness over 15 years of lost freedom, they only expressed gratefulness.
"I want to thank the almighty God in heaven for this moment," Allen said.
"I'd like to give all praise honor and glory to my lord and savior. for allowing me to experience this journey," Mozee said.
The exoneration of Allen and Mozee has been a decade in the making, under four different district attorneys who all agreed the two men were wrongly convicted.
District Attorney John Cruezot ultimately declared that they met the legal test for "actual innocence."
“If there was ever a case that warranted my office to take appropriate action to try to right these wrongs, the wrongful conviction of Mozee and Allen is it,” said Dallas County Criminal District Attorney John Creuzot. “Justice is slow sometimes, but today is a great day.”
"I want to apologize to these two gentlemen for what they've gone through," Creuzot added.
“Today, the Innocence Project is thrilled to have an official declaration of what these two men have always known: that they are innocent. We are extremely grateful to the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office for its commitment to pursuing justice and the truth in this case,” added Innocence Project attorney Nina Morrison.
Mozee and Allen were convicted 19 years ago of murdering Borns in order to rob him.
He was found stabbed to death at his business.
"These are wrongful convictions that did not have to happen and should not have happened," Morrison added.
According to court records, the state's case rested almost entirely on uncorroborated claims of criminal informants who "demanded, expected, and received considerable personal benefits " in exchange for their testimony.
But the jury was told the informants were credible "because they were promised no benefits."
And the former assistant district attorney and the lead detective failed to disclose favorable eyewitness evidence that pointed to the two men's innocence.
"This was a case where the eyewitness said from the beginning it was not Dennis Allen and was not Stanely Mozee. The jury never heard that information," Morrison said.
The judge came down from the bench to apologize on behalf of the justice system.
"We are sorry. Some 20 years ago, justice failed you," Judge Racquet Jones said. "The court hearby grants the motion,..and with that, ladies and gentlemen, you have free innocent men."
Based on Friday’s ruling, both Allen and Mozee will each receive a payment of $1.2 million, that's $80,000 for each of the 15 years they were in prison.
And they will continue to receive $80,000 a year for the rest of their lives.
The state says it will continue to try to find Borns' killer.
FOX 4 reached out to the former assistant district attorney who prosecuted case, but were unable to reach him.