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Murder conviction overturned for man who served 27 years

CHICAGO - An Illinois judge has overturned the conviction of a man who served 27 years in prison for the murder and attempted rape of his childhood friend, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Cook County judge Alfredo Maldonado on Monday ordered a new trial for 54-year-old Daniel Andersen in the 1980 Chicago murder of 20-year-old Cathy Trunko. Prosecutors haven't said whether they will retry him.

Andersen was only 19 when he was arrested for disorderly conduct days after the crime, and then allegedly confessed to the murder, according to the paper.

During Andersen's trial, he reportedly said police beat him into confessing.

Still, Andersen was convicted and sentenced to 55 years in prison. He was released in 2007 but has continued to work to clear his name.

Maldonado this week vacated Andersen's conviction and ordered a new trial largely due to recent DNA testing that found neither Andersen's nor Trunko's blood on the knife initially believed by police to be the murder weapon, reports the paper.

Furthermore, blood found underneath Trunko's fingernails also failed to link Andersen to the crime, according to the paper.

Maldonado reportedly called the DNA evidence an "extraordinary compelling fact" leading to his decision.

Andersen says he's grateful his parents are alive to see his conviction overturned.

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