James Bain used a cell phone for the first time Thursday, calling his elderly mother to tell her he had been freed after 35 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit.
Mobile devices didn't exist in 1974, the year he was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping a 9-year-old boy and raping him in a nearby field.
Neither did the sophisticated DNA testing that officials more recently used to determine he could not have been the rapist.
And what were the circumstances of his conviction?
He was convicted largely on the strength of the victim's eyewitness identification, though testing available at the time did not definitively link him to the crime. The boy said his attacker had bushy sideburns and a mustache. The boy's uncle, a former assistant principal at a high school, said it sounded like Bain, a former student.
The boy picked Bain out of a photo lineup, although there are lingering questions about whether detectives steered him.
Golly 1974, mustache and bushy sideburns -- sounds so "rare" in that time frame other than every other man between 18 and 30.