Prosecutor moves to free Cleveland man wrongfully convicted of killing girlfriend in 1994

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2017/04/prosecutor_moves_to_free_cleve.htmlCLEVELAND, Ohio — Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley’s Office on Monday filed a motion to vacate the 1995 murder conviction of a man who’s spent 23 years in prison for killing his girlfriend, a crime he has maintained he never committed.

Evin King, now 59, is being transferred from the state prison in Grafton to the Cuyahoga County Jail and could be released from custody as early as this week, according to Cuyahoga County court records.

The Ohio Innocence Project, which represented King during several appeals, announced the development in a news release that included a video of King breaking down into tears as he learned the news by telephone from Jennifer Bergeron, assistant clinical professor at the organization.

“I knew this day would come one day, and I knew I would cry,” King says over speakerphone as he begins to talk about his mother. “I know one thing for sure. She’s looking down on me.”

King was convicted in 1995 of killing his girlfriend, Crystal Hudson. Hudson’s partially decomposed body was found in her bedroom closet, and she had been raped and strangled.

Investigators found skin cells under Hudson’s fingernails and pulled semen from her body. DNA testing showed the semen was not a match for King, and DNA technology was not advanced enough at the time to test the skin cells. Prosecutors theorized at trial that Hudson had sex with another man in the days before she was killed, and King killed her.

A jury convicted him, and a Cuyahoga County judge sentenced him to life in prison with parole eligibility after 15 years.

King maintained his innocence. The Innocence Project took up the case and obtained new DNA testing in 2009 that showed the semen and the skin cells came from the same person whose DNA did not match King’s.

Despite the new evidence, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office fought to keep King’s conviction in place, and a Cuyahoga County judge declined to grant him a new trial. The Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals last year granted King a hearing on the DNA evidence which was by then six years old, and O’Malley, who took office in January, assigned a new assistant prosecutor to examine the case.

O’Malley earlier this month decided to vacate the conviction after that new review was done. Read the full article here…