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Daniel Villegas and Chris Ochoa: Two men, same fight for freedom

By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas --Two men who don't really know each other, but have a lot in common, met face-to-face Thursday to talk about life after prison.
Chris Ochoa, 47, and Daniel Villegas, 37, share a bond unlike most. They were both arrested for murders they say they didn't commit and claim they we're forced into false confessions.
"I just see myself in Daniel, said Ochoa. Same thing. Young kid (who) didn't know -- just scared.
Ochoa was arrested following the rape and murder of an Austin woman in 1988.  He said he was called in for questioning about a robbery when police labeled him a key suspect in the murder.  He said police then forced him to confess to the crime.
They threatened me with the death penalty. At one point the cop got my arm tapped here and said this is where the needle's going to go, said Ochoa.
Ochoa was exonerated more than a decade ago. 
Villegas on the other hand is still fighting for his freedom in the shooting death of two teens.  He was convicted of capital murder in 2005.  Now out on bond, Villegas said hes nervous to hear whether District Attorney Jaime Esparze will drop the charges or re-try his case.
His life is upside down right now, said Ochoa.
With a new home in Wisconsin, a family and a law degree, Ochoa said his mission in life is now to help people like him.
"I want to start a foundation where I can have funds so that I can give to the Innocence Project so that they can keep helping clear other people's names, said Ochoa.
Ochoa is starting his quest with Villegas and giving him advice.

"Be who you are. You're a good kid, just work, said Ochoa.
Ochoas biggest piece of advice to Villegas is while he waits for Esparza to make his decision on the case to go on with his life.

"I went to school. I started college. I went to UTEP, said Ochoa. 
Its something Villegas said he wants to do and major in psychology.
Ochoa said life for people like him and Villegas will always be tough.
"I still have nightmares, said Ochoa. I don't trust anybody.
With a positive attitude, though, Ochoa said anyone can make a good life for themselves after prison.
"Im a successful attorney.  I have a home. Im starting my own family, said Ochoa.
Like Ochoa, Villegas too said if exonerated he would like to help people who are wrongly convicted of crimes.