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Phoenix man jailed for crime he did not commit

Posted at 6:21 PM, Nov 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-02 21:54:21-04

"The first day I arrived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa I already had evidence I wasn't part of this crime."

Joseph McBride is speaking to us from a recreation center in Cedar Rapids – a far cry from where he's been the last 30 days. 

"I was beyond helpless, I felt deserted," said McBride. 

In late August, McBride says he was arrested at his Phoenix home. 

Accused of committing an armed robbery at this apartment complex on New Years Day, more than 1,500 miles away in Iowa. 

"He says Joseph McBride, we have a warrant for your arrest, first-degree robbery, you're considered armed and dangerous," said McBride. 

He says he was in shock and tried to explain they obviously had the wrong person. 

Soon in hanDcuffs, McBride was taken to Maricopa County Jail where he would soon be extradited out of the state. 

The next few weeks, McBride would endure transfers from jail cells in Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Missouri before being booked into Linn County Jail Iowa on Sept. 19. 

His godmother says it was at that point she became emotional after realizing this wasn’t going to be a quick fix. 

"The whole transport back there, those ten days, there were three or four days where we didn’t talk to him, I thought they were going to have this all sorted out before he even left the state,“ said Tyissa Williams. “I called everyone I could, the prosecutor's office, the state attorney’s office, the court, I even tried to reach the judge.”

McBride says when he arrived in Iowa, he immediately reached out to investigators and even his public defender with this photo taken in Arizona around the time of the crime, the time stamp and tracking location proving his innocence

But McBride would remain behind bars for another 30 days.

No matter how many times friends and family attempted to show evidence of his innocence, no one seemed to listen. 

"Basically they told me I did the crime, they played me as a joke basically, I was a joke to them," said McBride. 

According to his attorney, the only evidence tying McBride to the crime was a witness description police matched to his Facebook photo. 

KCRG an ABC affiliate obtained emails showing that the Linn County Attorney’s office agreed “Joseph’s story checked out” and that the case should be dismissed at least 24 hours before charges were finally dropped. 

McBride's attorney says detectives didn’t interview McBride once during the investigation. 

After weeks of pressure from friends and family, McBride stepped back into freedom Wednesday. 

But tonight his godmother says someone has to be held accountable. 

"The fact that it's that easy for that to happen, I'm scared — it scares me to death," said Williams. 

In a statement issued to KCRG, the Linn County Attorney’s Office said: 

“After McBride was extradited to Cedar Rapids, his defense attorney indicated he had evidence of an alibi for his client. He presented it to our office and we promptly requested the CRPD to investigate further. Part of that effort included interviewing the co-defendant. We promptly dismissed the charge after confirming that McBride was not involved.”

McBride and his family say they are planning on hiring an attorney to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.