In 1978, Michael Hanline, now 69, was convicted of shooting and killing J.T. McGarry, a Southern California truck driver. Hanline has spent the last 36 years in prison, but soon he’ll be walking free.
The California Innocence Project pressured prosecutors into re-examining evidence, and on Wednesday a prosecutor and a judge overturned Hanline’s conviction.
During the first trial, DNA evidence and investigative reports were withheld from Hanline’s attorney. DNA analysis was not used in the initial investigation because the technology didn’t exist then. Ventura County prosecutors said an analysis this year found the DNA profile of an unidentified male, not Hanline.
Ventura County Superior Court Judge Donald Coleman ordered Hanline to return to court on Nov. 24 for a hearing, where he will be released on bail. The California Innocence Project said Hanline’s case represents the oldest conviction ever reversed in state history.
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