BOSTON (CBS) – A man who has spent almost 30 years in prison for murder is now one decision away from freedom.

Thomas Koonce was convicted of the 1987 murder of Mark Santos in New Bedford. Two weeks after Gov. Charlie Baker commuted his sentence, Koonce made a personal plea for his release.

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In commuting his sentence, Gov. Baker said he believes Koonce took responsibility for his actions and paid his debt to the Commonwealth. Koonce addressed the Governor’s Council Wednesday.

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“At this time, I would like state that I am fully responsible for shooting and killing Mr. Mark Santos,” Koonce said. “I take full responsibility for taking his life the morning of July 21, 1987. My life will be forever dedicated to giving back to society for taking this young man’s life. Mr. Santos deserved to live his life to the fullest, and I am responsible for his death. I am sorry.”

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The Governor’s Council will vote on Koonce’s commutation on February 16.