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Man released from prison after 34 years due to new DNA evidence

As New Jersey residents may have heard, a 63-year-old Pennsylvania man was recently released on bond from prison after serving 34 years of a life sentence for raping and killing a minor in 1976. The discovery of DNA evidence that did not match the man caused the conviction to be vacated.

The district attorney in Indiana County announced that an investigation into whether the man should be retried under a charge of murder in the second degree will be announced in the middle of September. A charge of second degree murder is made in Pennsylvania when a defendant is present at a crime scene where a murder is committed in addition to another offense.

Pressure from the Innocence Project resulted in retesting of the DNA recovered from the crime scene. In 1981, four individuals were arrested and charged with the crime, including the man and his brother. Testimony by three jailed informants led to the man's conviction. Charges against the other three men were dropped, one due to lack of a speedy trial and the others for lack of evidence. The Indiana County prosecutor stated that it might not be possible to retry the man because witnesses that were called in the case may not have clear memories of the incident or be deceased.

The commission of a felony may result in long-term consequences including prison time. An individual charged with a felony might benefit from consultation with a criminal defense attorney. Legal counsel might review police reports, witness accounts and other aspects of the case to prepare a defense or negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution.

Source: NBC News, "Lewis Fogle Freed by DNA After Serving 34 Years for Teen's Murder", Tracy Connor, Aug. 13, 2015

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