Eric Cravens' family happy about release, upset about jail time

Boone County prosecutors dropped shooting charges friday.

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Eric Cravens is a free man after nearly three months in jail on assault and armed criminal action charges.

Columbia police accused him of shooting three in downtown Columbia.

Prosecutors say they dropped the charges because of a lack of evidence and cooperation from witnesses.

ABC 17 talked to Cravens today.  He was so happy, he could barely find the words to describe it.

"I'm just...I'm so shocked. I don't know what to say. I mean, I'm just shocked," he said.

His mother, Teresa Smith, tried focusing on his return.

"Words can't explain it. I'm just happy he's home.  Upset, but still happy," she said.

His family is upset with how long it took police and the court to realize he was innocent.

Although prosecutors say dropped charges doesn't mean he's innocent, only the evidence wasn't enough to pass reasonable doubt in court.

But the family knows he's innocent and believe police will one day prove it to be true.

"The way it is now is the way it should've been in the first place," Teresa said. "He never should've been behind bars.  He was innocent."

Now that Cravens is out of jail, all his family wants to do is go back to a normal life.

Teresa said, "I just want to talk and watch a movie and sit with him and his baby."

Eric plans on returning to Columbia College to study history.  

In the meantime, he plans on enjoying every day with his newborn daughter. He missed her birth while behind bars.

Eric hopes his story can open the public's eyes the justice system has flaws, "It's not only me, it's other innocent people locked up. Something needs to be done to set those people free and bring those cases to life."

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