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Judge vacates murder conviction for recently pardoned man

November 30, 2017

This undated photo provided by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Craig Richard Coley. Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017, pardoned Coley, a man convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend and her 4-year-old son nearly four decades ago after modern DNA tests suggested he was probably innocent. Coley, 70, has consistently maintained his innocence since he was arrested the same day 24-year-old Rhonda Wicht and her 4-year-old son, Donald Wicht, were found dead in her Simi Valley apartment on Nov. 11, 1978. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via AP)

VENTURA, Calif. (AP) — A California man recently pardoned by Gov. Jerry Brown has had his double-murder conviction vacated by a judge.

Craig Coley walked out of prison last week after nearly four decades.

The 70-year-old was convicted of killing 24-year-old Rhonda Wicht of Simi Valley and her 4-year-old son in 1978.

The Ventura County Star reports a judge Wednesday granted motions vacating the convictions and finding Coley factually innocent.

Simi Valley’s police chief and Ventura County’s district attorney had asked Brown to pardon him.

They said tests revealed Coley’s DNA isn’t on a key piece of evidence used to convict.

In his clemency application, Coley told the governor that he was framed by a detective who destroyed crucial evidence.

The newspaper says the years he was in custody make Coley eligible for nearly $2 million in compensation.

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