DURHAM, N.C. -- He almost didn't answer the phone, but when LaMonte Armstrong did, it was Governor Pat McCrory on the other end with a gift he's waited 17 years to get - a pardon.
"Am I glad I answered it? Yes.. I'm pretty glad I answered it," said LaMonte Armstrong.
READ: Gov. McCrory Pardons Wrongfully Convicted Man
Armstrong added, "[McCrory] said he was sorry for what had happened to me. And when it comes from somebody like that, that's pretty good."
Monday, WFMY News 2's Morgan Hightower met with Armstrong - the day Governor McCrory signed his pardon for innocence.
In LaMonte Armstrong's life - he's been accused, charged, tried, convicted, sentenced, freed, and now pardoned.
He spent nearly 17 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
READ: Judge Frees LaMonte Armstrong After New Evidence in 1995 Conviction
"I accepted it in order for me to move on. Was it hard? Yeah, sure it was."
Armstrong said, "I had to continue to study, continue to write, by and by somebody will listen."
Eventually, Duke University heard his story and a team of professors and students went to work.
Armstrong was released from prison in June 2012 and his charges were dropped in March 2013.
He has been working at a recovery center in Chapel Hill since his release and is studying to become a certified substance abuse counselor.
"I'm just going to live my life one day at a time to the best of my ability," said Armstrong.
While on the phone with Governor McCrory, Armstrong asked to play a game of H-O-R-S-E with the governor, Michael Jordan, and Fred Whitfield of the Charlotte Bobcats.
Armstrong says the governor told him it was a done deal.
WFMY News 2