After exoneration, Robert DuBoise tries to get back on his feet, redirect his faith into fighting for change

He was just 18 years old when a jury sentenced him to death. Robert DuBoise spent nearly four decades behind bars for a crime he did not commit; walking free last year after DNA evidence exonerated him.

A lot can change in 37 years. For Robert, his freedom has been fused with the unfamiliar.

"It's been very challenging," he said to FOX 13. "Yeah, self-checkout, driving again, going into these huge grocery stores that didn't exist back in 1983."

The 56-year-old lost a lifetime after being locked up at the age of 18, he never got married, had children, or went to college.

RELATED: Wrongfully convicted of rape and murder, man sues Tampa, police for allegedly framing him of the crimes

Robert has not seen a penny from the state for his wrongful conviction, and right now is trying to make a living without living off the system.

"I do electrical, plumbing, flooring, lighting, whatever comes up, I do it," Robert explained.

In 1985, Robert was wrongfully convicted of raping and murdering a Tampa teenager. Last year, DNA evidence was uncovered that proved his innocence. He is now suing the city and the TPD officers who pinned the crime him.  Yet after all these years, Robert says he is not bitter, he saw far too much of that behind bars.

"They stole their own joy by creating so much hatred in their heart," said Robert. "And I just said, ‘You know what? That ain't going to happen.’ You know, I'm just going to keep my faith and that's what I did."

MORE: Man cleared by DNA evidence after 37 years in jail invited to first NFL game by Tampa Bay Bucs

Faith in his future and in moving forward. Fighting a system designed to keep him locked up for close to 40 years.  Robert says it was a nightmare, and he almost lost hope when it was revealed all evidence admitted during his trial had been destroyed.

"I said, ‘If I could just get parole, then I can get out, and prove my own innocence.’ This is my dream at this point because I really don't see a lot of options at this point," Robert said.

PREVIOUS: Provision in Florida law prevents wrongly convicted man from receiving compensation for 37 years in jail

Parole never happened, but freedom did.  The Innocence Project along with the State Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit discovered that key DNA evidence that proved Robert did not commit the crime.

Now, he is putting his faith into fighting for change.

"It's a broken system, and little by little, they're getting honest people in offices that are actually focusing on evidence instead of stature or anything else," said Robert.