Defendants in a child molestation case that produced the longest sentences in state history have been freed because of appellate rulings that their convictions were improper.
One of the last to leave prison was Ricky Lynn Pitts, who was greeted by his wife and teen-age daughters when he was set free Friday.
“No words can describe the happiness I’m feeling,” Pitts said. “it’s unreal. Six and one-half years in prison and having your girls taken away for something you didn’t do--it’s unbelievable.”
Pitts’ wife, Marcella, was released Wednesday. They and five other defendants had been serving prison sentences of 285 to 405 years on a total of 377 counts.
The Pitts case was one of the most sensational of several multi-defendant Kern County child molestation cases in the early 1980s. They led to a state attorney general’s report criticizing the methods of investigators, especially for asking children leading questions.