Judge vacates murder conviction for recently pardoned man
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.