Posted: October 4, 2011 3:35 PM
A California man was cleared on Friday after serving 17 years in prison for a crime he always said he didn’t commit. Obie Anthony’s conviction was overturned after the Northern California Innocence Project presented evidence that a key witness against him at trial had lied to the jury.
Anthony was found guilty of murdering a man in South Los Angeles in 1995, despite the lack of physical evidence connecting him to the crime. Anthony’s conviction was based largely on eyewitness testimony that has since been recanted. The witness has since admitted he never clearly saw the gunman at the scene of the crime, reported the Los Angeles Times. Judge Kelvin D. Filer was critical of prosecutors in the case for failing to disclose to the jury that they had made a deal with the witness, a pimp who was seeking a reduced sentence on pimping and pandering charges in exchange for his testimony.
On Friday, the judge ordered Anthony to be released on his own recognizance, but he remained in a county jail over the weekend. Prosecutors have 60 days to decide whether to retry him on the murder charge.
Seth Flagsberg, an attorney for the Northern California Innocence Project at Santa Clara University School of Law, which handled Anthony's appeal, said he thought it was unlikely that prosecutors would retry his client because they have no credible witnesses in the case.
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