At one time, the entire state wrongly viewed Edward Humphrey as the sadistic killer who murdered five students in Gainesville.
But since Danny Harold Rolling has pleaded guilty to those slayings and prosecutors have cleared Humphrey, that speculation is over.
In his efforts to put his life together, Humphrey today will ask the Florida Clemency Board to restore the civil rights he lost when he was convicted of punching his grandmother in 1990.
Humphrey and his attorney maintain that he never would have been so fiercely prosecuted for the crime _ because his grandmother dropped the charges _ if he had not been a suspect in the murders.
Now that he has served his sentence and probation, his rights should be returned to him, his attorney says.
"In my 23 years as a lawyer, I have never seen any young person more unfairly treated," Donald Lykkebak of Orlando said Tuesday.
The Florida Parole Commission recommended that the Clemency Board not restore Humphrey's rights, even after Humphrey said the attack on his grandmother stemmed from his mental health.
Humphrey is manic depressive and takes lithium to keep it under control.
In a letter to the board, Humphrey said he is now a productive and responsible person and wants to be able to vote. He also needs his rights restored to pursue a career as an X-ray technician.
"Having my civil rights would be a big boost to my self-confidence and would be a positive step to having a normal life once again," he wrote.
It wasn't until Rolling pleaded guilty two weeks ago and said he acted alone that Humphrey was cleared.
Mark Schlakman, assistant general counsel for the governor, said restoring civil rights is the most basic form of clemency.
Generally, if the individual does not have multiple convictions, has satisfied his sentence and there are no objections from the board, those rights are restored to let the person rebuild his life, Schlakman said.
However, there is no way to tell what decision the board _ which is made up of the governor and the Cabinet _ will make.