BUFFALO, N.Y. — After nearly 20 years, Corey Epps is a free man.

Epps was released from custody Friday after 19 years in jail for the 1997 murder of 23-year-old Tomika Means.

He had been sentenced to 25 years to life for the death of Means, who was killed during a road-rage incident.

Based on newly discovered evidence, the murder conviction has been vacated and Epps has been released to his family.

Epps’ family cheered as Judge James Barnesi made the announcement in Erie County Court Friday morning. He had maintained his innocence during the trial and evidence was presented at the time that placed him in another location at the time of Means’ death.

New evidence presented in a sealed hearing Wednesday convinced Erie County District Attorney John Flynn to vacate the conviction and drop the indictment.

“After reviewing this case, it became clear to me that Mr. Epps should not spend one more night in prison,” Flynn said in a statement released after the decision was announced. “This office is committed to not only convicting the guilty, but protecting the innocent.”