SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - A decision by the Missouri Supreme Court in spring 2018 could not only release a Sikeston, Missouri man from prison but declare him innocent of the crime that put him there.
David Robinson always said he didn't shoot a woman to death in the summer of 2000.
"Over the years, being denied and denied and denied, that stuff started taking an emotional toll on me and a financial toll on my family also," Robinson said. "And an emotional toll on them, but I just kept hope and faith and just kept praying."
Now, a judge agreed with him and filed a report to the state's highest court calling for his murder conviction to be vacated.
That report, written by a Jefferson County judge, called the two witnesses in Robinson's trial unreliable and questioned the credibility of the detective who led the case against him.
Robinson said he's confident the new report will ultimately set him free.
His family agrees and is now hoping the Supreme Court agrees.
Only they know what it has been like during the time Robinson was in prison.
Family members remembered what being without him meant to them.
"I was in college in Kansas when it happened and Bridget she called me and I was like what happened," remembered Justin, David's brother. "She said they say she killed a woman, and I was like killed a woman."
Still, to this day, the Robinson family has a difficult time dealing with the last 17 years. It's 17 years after Jenenett McCaster saw her son put behind bars.
"As a parent it's not easy," said Jenenett McCaster, Robinson's mom. "It's not easy at all."
She said he was painted as a person he was not.
"He's not a violent person, he's not a person like that," she continued.
His aunt, Betty Sharp, said David would be the first one to tell you that he was not a saint.
"He lived his life," she said.
They talked about what it was like without him.
"No one really knew how David was dealing with this over the 17 years," Sharp said.
Seventeen years is a long time.
"I went and saw him and that was the first time that I saw him cry," said Patricia Jackson. "He said that he was losing hope."
Through it all, his family believed he was strong.
"If there is anyone who can endure something like this it was him," said Shawn Ruffin, another of David's brothers.
"But a lot of the times you wouldn't know it because he's one of the strongest men that I know that can endure this and still have a positive outlook on life," said Marcus Robinson.
After 17 years, the family has hope for the future, not hate for the past.
"You know all we want is for justice to be done," said Sharp "and for David to be get out of there and go on with his life."
Robinson said he plans to leave Sikeston in his rearview.
Both his mother and aunt said they believe that's what's best for him moving forward.
Sikeston's city manager put Detective John Blakely on paid administrative leave while the U.S. Attorney's Office investigates his actions on the Robinson case.
DPS Chief Mike Williams, who cannot comment on the pending Supreme Court case, said the honesty and integrity of his department is his number one priority.