Watch CBSN Live

Murder conviction overturned after Francisco Carrillo spent 20 years in L.A. jail


(CBS/AP) LOS ANGELES - A Los Angeles judge has overturned the murder conviction of a man who spent 20 years in jail for a fatal drive-by shooting he says he did not commit.

Francisco "Franky" Carrillo, 37, was expected to be released from the Los Angeles County jail Tuesday or Wednesday after numerous witnesses last week recanted their identification of him as the killer in the 1991 shooting of 41-year-old Donald Sarpy, reported The Los Angeles Times.

Carrillo was convicted in 1992, but had always insisted he was innocent. The case against Carrillo hinged on the word of six teenage boys who had been standing with the victim on a street in Lynnwood when the gunman drove by, reported the Times.

One jury deadlocked 7 to 5 in favor of acquitting Carrillo, but a second jury found him guilty. He was sentenced to two life terms in prison, reported the paper.

Now, after Carillo spent 20 years behind bars, Superior Court Judge Paul A. Bacigalupo has ruled that the recantations and a reconstruction of the crime scene, which the judge visited, were enough to undermine confidence in the jury's guilty verdict, allowing Carrillo to be released.

A district attorney's spokeswoman told the Times the office has 60 days to decide whether to retry the case.