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Apr 3, 2013 9:00 PM by Tania Shofron

Emotional first day of freedom after decades behind bars

PHOENIX - After spending the last four decades in prison, a Tucson man released Tuesday spent his first hours of freedom enjoying a hike and a burger.

Louis Taylor, now 58, was released Tuesday after spending more than 40 years behind bars for the deadly 1970 fire at the Pioneer Hotel in downtown Tucson. When recent doubts about his conviction surfaced, he entered a no-contest plea to expedite his release.

Taylor was 16-years-old and worked as a busboy for the hotel when the tragedy happened.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Taylor was overwhelmed by emotion and said he feels fortunate he survived prison, but also feels for the families of those who lost loved ones in the fire.

He said he spent his first hours of freedom hiking Sabino Canyon in Tucson, and visiting In-N-Out Burger.

He also commented on how much the world has changed since he went to prison, noting "they only had 8-tracks in 1970." He also expressed his struggles with new technology, "I was messing with an Apple telephone and I just couldn't get it!"

In 1972, Taylor was sentenced to life for setting the fire which killed 29 people.

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