MODESTO (CBS13) — A Modesto man convicted nearly 20 years ago of a triple murder is now a free man.

It was a moment 16 years in the making. George Souliotes is now a free man. Wiping tears from his eyes, George hugs his lawyer and then his family as he looks out toward the final set of doors between him and freedom.

“I see the sun. It is beautiful.”

As George walks to the car, he says only one thing was on his mind while he sat in jail.

“To go back to my family.”

His family hoped he would be released Tuesday, but the California Department of Corrections says Immigration and Customs Enforcement had a hold on him from 2002. That hold was cleared Wednesday morning.

In 1997, he was found guilty of setting a fire that killed a woman and her two children. The department of corrections says his case was retried, where pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges and his sentence was reduced from life in prison to just six years.

When asked what he wants to do now that he’s a free man, Souliotes told CBS13 he wishes he knew.


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