Paul Gatling, an 81-year-old Virginia man, was fully exonerated on Monday after being wrongfully convicted of murder in 1986.

“There’s a lot of water gone under the bridge, but the bridge is still standing,” Gatling said after the proceedings.

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Gatling spent nine years in prison for the murder of Lawrence Rothbort, a Brooklyn artist in Crown Heights home, the New York Times reports, and received a reduced sentence thanks to the Legal Aid Society, but remained a convicted murder for most of his life. On Monday, Gatling was exonerated by a Brooklyn judge at the request of a prosecutor.

Two years ago, the retired landscaper contacted his attorney after learning that the Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson was offering full exonerations. The Conviction Review Unit looked into his case, and determined that Gatling, who was 29-years-old at the time, did not receive a fair trial.

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