ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) — The first person to be convicted with DNA evidence for a 1987 rape case in Orange County is being released from prison.
A judge signed the order on Friday for Tommie Lee Andrews to be freed from the Florida Civil Commitment Center. Andrews was being held there as a result of the Jimmy Ryce Involuntary Civil Commitment for Sexually Violent Predators’ Treatment and Care Act.
Andrews has been held since 2012 after serving a 24-year prison sentence.
“I’m still shocked. I’m worried. I haven’t really been able to process it yet,” Karen Munroe said.
Munroe is one of the women Andrews was convicted of raping in the late 80s. WESH 2 News spoke with her just hours after a judge ruled Andrews was to be released.
“I’m very worried. Very worried for the community he’s going to go to,” Munroe said.
Throughout his time in prison and the hospital Andrews has claimed he’s innocent.
In court documents, the judge said Andrews had no record of bad behavior while behind bars and the state could not prove Andrews was likely to commit another act of sexual violence if released.
“He was in a locked monitored facility for all these years. He didn’t have the chance,” Munroe said, saying she believes he is still a threat. “I think he’s just waiting for his time. He’s going to continue. I don’t know how he couldn’t. I hope he doesn’t but I do believe, yes he will be.”
Andrews did get married while behind bars and told the judge during his trial he already had a job lined up if released.
He is expected to be released in the coming days.