AUSTIN -- Dan Keller, now 72 years old, happily emerged from the Travis County Jail Thursday afternoon. He walked with a cane, but his bad knee didn't slow him down as he embraced family he hasn't seen in more than 21 years.
"Free," Keller said. "After all these years, but it's all, praise the Lord for it. He's a good Lord."
In 1992, Keller and his now ex-wife Fran Keller were convicted of sexually assaulting a three-year old girl at their Oak Hill daycare. Two four-year-old boys also accused them, and the allegations escalated to include satanic rituals. The children also accused the couple of flying them to Mexico, where they were sexually assaulted, and then bringing them back before their parents made it to the day care to pick them up.
Dr. Michael Mouw testified the girl had injuries consistent with being assaulted, and the couple was sentenced to 48 years.
A few years later, while at a medical conference, Mouw said he learned the marks he saw on the girl were normal. He said he called police to tell them of his mistake, but was told his testimony did not make a difference in the case.
"You pray and you keep writing lawyers. You write a whole lot of lawyers, hoping someone will take your case," said Fran Keller outside of the jail on Thursday.
Austin attorney Keith Hampton answered their cries for help and started researching the case.
Mouw learned his testimony was the only physical evidence presented in the trial, and in August, he recanted his testimony in court. Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg said that Mouw's testimony played a large role in the conviction of the Kellers and agreed to release them on bond until their appeal is heard in court.
Fran was released Tuesday, Nov. 26.
"It's like we're living in a little fantasy land right now. We're afraid to wake up because we might still be in prison," she said.
"Right now I'm going to try to go eat a big old hamburger somewhere," Dan said.
The Kellers said they always believed they'd be released.
"I asked the Lord about 20 years ago. But He works in His time, not ours. And this day came. We're free," Dan said.
They said they feel no resentment toward their accusers.
"I forgave everybody. There's no use to hate somebody. A man ain't supposed to do that. Lord didn't hate anybody when they put him on a cross. He said forgive you. I forgave them from day one," said Dan.
"The children didn't do anything. They didn't do nothing. Children can be swayed by adults. And no, I'm not bitter to the parents. I'm not. I'm just glad to be out and to be able top start our life over," Fran said.
But they said they do have mixed emotions about the justice system.
"Be careful next time," Fran said. "Consider your sources. Just be careful in your judgments. It only takes one bad judgment to ruin somebody's life."
Yet, the Kellers said their lives aren't ruined and they have a lot of living to do.
"I'm only 63. I've got another 30, 40 years to go. And I'm as happy as can be," Fran said.
This is not over for the Kellers. Their attorney will have to prove their innocence in the Texas Court of Appeals in order for them to be exonerated. Hampton said it will be a few months before their case goes to court.