Williams spent nearly four decades behind bars for a crime he didn't commit.
If there's one thing you can count on from America's Got Talent it's a few genuinely moving moments packed in between the dancing pigs, card tricks, lame rollerskaters and jokey acts clearly just trying to steal some airtime. All of those things happened on Tuesday night's (May 26) first round of auditions for the summer blockbuster show's 15th season.
And when the time came for the tearjerker, it was all that and more. Archie Williams confidently walked out on stage with a story that is sadly all-too-familiar to some. The Louisiana native collected himself before explaining that he was in prison for 37 years on a false conviction tied to the 1982 rape and stabbing of a white woman. "I knew I was innocent. I didn't commit a crime, but being a poor black kid I didn't have the economic ability to fight the state of Louisiana at the trial," Williams said.
Williams was sentenced to life plus 80 years with no chance of parole and served nearly four decades in prison before being exonerated based on DNA evidence. In his pre-performance package, Williams said he spent much of his time in lockup praying and singing -- as well as watching AGT -- before his release last spring.