LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge has agreed to dismiss murder charges against a man suspected of killing 10 homeless men in Los Angeles in the 1970s because he only has six months to live.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Larry Fidler dismissed Bobby Joe Maxwell's case on Friday following a request from prosecutors.

Maxwell was convicted in the 1980s of two killings, but an appeals court overturned his conviction decades later. In 2013, prosecutors refiled five murder charges against him.

Authorities say the 68-year-old, who has been comatose since last December, will likely never recover.

Prosecutors called the dismissal a "compassionate release" and stressed there was no finding of Maxwell's guilt or innocence.

Maxwell's attorneys say he's always insisted he is innocent and has fought to prove that for nearly 40 years.