After 10 years in prison, Jennifer Del Prete says her first day of freedom was "amazing" and "surreal."
The Hickory Hills woman was released by a judge on Wednesday, on bond, after new evidence was discovered by Northwestern University students at the Medill Justice Project.
On Thursday, Del Prete filled out paperwork at the federal courthouse in Chicago. Then she went to see her son and daughter. Her kids were 7 and 14 when she went to prison, convicted in the death of a child from Romeoville.
"I'm not bitter about anything," she told NBC 5 Chicago News. "I think this has humbled me. I was already a strong woman, I believe I'm 10 times stronger now."
Del Prete has maintained her innocence in the death of 14-month-old Isabella Zielinski, who died in 2003. In 2005, Del Prete was sentenced to the minimum 20 years after being convicted of violently shaking Isabella while caring for her in December 2002.
A federal judge agreed last week to allow Del Prete to be released after new evidence came to light that could point to her innocence.
In January, the judge issued a 97-page ruling saying new evidence in the case called into question the controversial science behind "shaken baby" syndrome that led to Del Prete's conviction.