George Souliotes
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George Souliotes free after 17 years in prison

George Souliotes, 72, gazes skyward outside a house in Escondido, Calif. One of the first statements he made while walking out of a Stanislaus County prison in July was, “I see the sun. It’s beautiful.” (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
Souliotes sits in the rose garden of a house that he is helping to remodel in Escondido. The former general contractor who loved to dance was wrongfully convicted of murder after three people died in a fire at his rental house in Modesto. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
Souliotes tears up at the memory of those who got him released from prison after 17 years behind bars.  (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
Souliotes programs his cellphone for directions to a restaurant in Escondido. He said of the female voice commands from his phone, “I love the lady who helps me find my way.”  (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
Souliotes leaves court on a Tuesday morning in July at the Stanislaus County Superior Courthouse in Modesto. (Joan Barnett Lee / Modesto Bee)
Souliotes is overcome with emotion as his son Aleko Souliotes, 38, greets him after his release from the Stanislaus Public Safety Center on July 3. At right is attorney Jimmy McBirney.  (Debbie Noda / Modesto Bee)
Aleka Pantazis sits with boxes of evidence and court documents from the case of her brother George Souliotes. Pantazis worked for years to prove her brother’s innocence. (Bret Hartman / For The Times)