APPLETON, Wis. (AP) _ Charges have been dropped against a woman who was once convicted and imprisoned for 10 years in the deaths of two elderly sisters.

The charges against Beth LaBatte in the 1991 deaths of Cecilia Cadigan, 85, and her sister Ann Cadigan, 90, were dropped Tuesday as the case was gearing up for a second trial.

Circuit Court Judge Dennis Luebke, who presided over the first trial, granted LaBatte a new trial in November. The decision hinged on new DNA results that showed that blood on items connected to the Cadigan murders did not belong to LaBatte.

Prosecutor Andrew Naze said Tuesday that key witnesses have died and considering the ``significant passage of time and the high cost to taxpayers, a successful outcome at a new trial is unlikely.''

LaBatte's case had been championed by the University of Wisconsin Law School's Innocence Project, which won motions to have evidence reanalyzed using current DNA technology and planned to use the findings at trial.

LaBatte, who has been free on bail, was arrested in 1996 and later convicted of two counts of homicide and two counts of armed robbery in the beating deaths of the sisters inside their farmhouse. LaBatte was sentenced to life in prison.