Juan Rivera had been convicted three times in the stabbing of Holly Staker, 11, who was babysitting in a Waukegan, Ill., home in 1992.
CHICAGO -- After having to jog in place inside his Illinois prison cell for the last 20 years, Juan Rivera is now free to run. But finding time to do so is easier said than done.
The 39-year-old man was released from prison last week after a Chicago appeals court overturned his life sentence in the 1992 rape and murder of 11-year-old Holly Staker, blaming authorities for not having enough evidence.
Detectives in Waukegan, Ill., where the baby sitter was killed, are investigating the case again.
Rivera talked about his life since his release from Stateville Correctional Center near Joilet, Ill., in an interview with the Chicago Tribune on Friday.
"I always knew I was a lifer, but I never lived as a lifer. The only thing that was incarcerated was my body. My spirit and my mind was free," he told the Tribune. "Now that I'm free, it's going to be better than ever."
He shared his experiences from his trial, his time in prison and his vision for the days ahead.
Rivera, who is married, has taken steps forward in his effort to adjust to life after decades behind bars. The strict vegan has rented a two-bedroom apartment, shopped at a Target for the first time in his life, and purchased his first outfit: running shoes, jogging pants and a polo shirt, according to the Tribune.
Rivera told the Chicago newspaper he hopes to attend college and educate the public about wrongful convictions.
More content from msnbc.com and NBC News: