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Two Years After Acquittal, Lawyers Want Elderly Man Released From Prison

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - A federal judge is being asked to release from prison an elderly man who was acquitted on murder charges in the death of a Philadelphia police officer, he shot 46-years ago. The State Parole Board has two weeks to file an objection.

William Barnes, 76, served 16-years for shooting police officer Walter Barclay, during a botched burglary in 1966. The officer was paralyzed, and prosecutors claim he suffered for decades, until he died in 2007. That's when the Philadelphia District Attorney's office filed murder charges against Barnes.

Three years later, a jury acquitted Barnes, but his lawyer, Sam Silver, says ever since, Barnes has been unfairly and unconstitutionally denied parole.

"Bill Barnes has been an appropriate candidate for parole since he was acquitted in 2010."

Earlier this week, a Federal Magistrate recommended that Barnes be released, because he was "enduring a shocking pattern of arbitrary requirements and parole denials."

That recommendation has gone to Federal District Court Judge James Knoll Gardner, who will make a ruling.

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