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Man Released From Prison After Serving 12 Years For Murder Officials Now Say He Probably Didn't Commit

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com)    –  Authorities on Thursday released a convicted murderer from prison saying new evidence means he probably didn't commit the crime.

His attorney -- Jeffrey Erlich -- thinks officials had the wrong man all along.

CBS2's Dave Lopez was in the courtroom when Jennings found out he was a free man.

Surprisingly, Jennings showed no emotion.  When he left the courtroom, he jumped into a waiting car and didn't say a word.

He was convicted of killing college student Michelle O'Keefe in 2000 in a parking lot where he was an attendant.

Jennings underwent three trials -- two ended in a hung jury. In the third trial, he was found guilty after a month of deliberations.

"She was an incredible kid," the victim's father  -- Mike O'Keefe -- recalled Thursday.

He can't believe Jennings is a free man.

"It goes through the court of appeals," he said, "and the court [of appeals] supported the court's decision on the thing. So, based on all that, what more do you need?"

The LA District Attorney said you need to prove Jennings is really guilty.

His attorney -- Jeffrey Erlich -- thinks officials had the wrong man all along.

"Ray Jennings is innocent," Erlich said, "Everything that could possibly have gone wrong did go wrong -- until the district attorney, this administration,  created the Conviction Review Unit."

"My office will not turn away from its duty to look at new, credible evidence," said LA County D.A. Jackie Lacey. She made that statement in October 2015 upon announcing the creation of the new review board.

Erlich wasted no time getting to the new review unit.

For whatever reason, the "new " evidence was never presented to juries at any of Jenning's three trials.

The review board, made up up former district attorneys, looked at the evidence and agreed the case against Jennings was weak.

Jennings' fiance and five children remain in North Carolina.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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