By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4)– To Rene Lima-Marin it does not seem fair. He is free, but his co-defendant, Michael Clifton, continues to serve a 98-year prison sentence.

Two decades ago they held up two stores together and received the same sentence. On Friday, Lima-Marin was back to court.

(credit: CBS)

“For justice… to show my support and do everything possible to make sure that justice prevails,” he said.

Rene Lima-Marin (credit: CBS)

He was released nine decades early because of a clerical mistake. Clifton continues to serve his sentence.

Adam Frank, Clifton’s attorney told the court, “It violates equal protection to keep Mr. Clifton in prison when Mr. Lima-Marin has been released.”

Michael Clifton (credit: CBS)

But the Colorado Attorney General’s Office argued Clifton’s conduct in prison was the opposite of Lima-Marin’s. Clifton got into trouble behind bars.

Jason Kasperek was a clerk held up by Lima-Marin and Clifton. He previously told CBS4 investigator Rick Sallinger that Clifton should not be released.

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“I’m sorry I’m one of the victims… it’s a life sentence for me,” Kasperek said.

Clifton’s family came to the hearing from around the country to see him and wish him well.

His daughter Alexis had never seen him in person.

Michael Clifton (credit: CBS)

Lima-Marin hasn’t seen Clifton since they were sentenced.

“Those things can mold us to make us better people,” he said.

Rene Lima Marin (credit: CBS)

He is now a free man while Clifton remains behind bars.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.