MINNEAPOLIS -- Just five days after leaving prison, Koua Fong Lee is making the most out of his freedom. Simple things that most people take for granted are bringing joy to his life, like getting to know his children, helping his wife and cleaning his house.
"My wife said, "Since you came here, I have nothing to worry about because you make me strong," Lee said during an interview with KARE 11.
Lee was serving an eight-year prison sentence for a car accident in 2006 that ultimately killed three people. He always said the brakes on his 1996 Toyota Camry did not work, but a jury convicted him. He was released from prison last week after a judge ruled he should get a new trial. Prosecutors then dropped all charges against him.
Perhaps the hardest part for Lee was sitting in prison during the birth of his youngest child.
"I can go back to my family, but I can't redo my daughter's birthday and hold her hand," Lee said.
He thanked everyone who supported him, including complete strangers who held rallies calling for his freedom. He called their support a gift.
"I want them to know that I will keep this gift the rest of my life," he said.
Lee now hopes to earn his G.E.D., then go to college.
"I want to be a social worker, to help other people," he said. "A lot of people need help."
Shortly after leaving prison, Lee fulfilled a promise to his four children: he took them to the Como Zoo Monday.
Last week, he told reporters that he wanted to teach his children the meaning of the word "daddy." Asked if that was already happening, Lee said, "Takes time. Takes time."
(Copyright 2010 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)