A Michigan man is back home after being cleared of charges in an 18-year-cold case.

A Hamilton County jury found Jason Sanford not guilty of Sarah Perry's murder last week.

Sanford returned to Michigan hours after the verdict.

Now, his attorney said Sanford is trying to pick up where his life stopped nearly 3 years ago.

Johnny Houston said his client, Jason Sanford, left Chattanooga Saturday in disbelief.

"It didn't even seem real right when the verdict was announced, he said, but in the back after they had taken me over to the jail, he said, I dropped down to my knees and I was thankful," Houston added.

Sarah Perry's body was found in a trash can 18 years ago.

Police said she was strangled.

The case grew cold until 2016 when the Hamilton County Cold Case Unit reopened the case leading to Sanford's arrest.

"These cold cases are hard, they're hard to prosecute and we have a DA's office that is willing to do it. So hats off to them for pursuing these kinds of cases," Houston said.

Sanford waited nearly 3 years for his case to be heard by a jury which decided not to send him to prison for the rest of his life.

Now Houston said his client is back home in Michigan going through the expungement process to clear his name and looking for a job.

"I don't know if there is a process to expunge the internet. I don't believe there is. So, there are aspects of this case that will always remain out there," he added.

Double jeopardy prevents the district attorney from ever charging Sanford with Sarah Perry's murder again.

News that Perry's mother tells Channel 3 has left her devastated beyond words.

The Cold Case Unit was created in 2014 and has a team dedicated to reviewing 200 unsolved homicides and missing person's cases in Hamilton County.

This is the first cold case the unit has lost in trial since it was created.