Man who claimed his innocence in 1995 murder is freed thanks to help from team at UC

Man who claimed his innocence in 1995 murder is freed thanks to help from team at UC
Posted at 2:48 PM, Apr 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-19 15:22:31-04

CLEVELAND — A team at the University of Cincinnati helped free a man Wednesday who claims he was wrongly imprisoned in his girlfriend's slaying 23 years ago.  

Court records show Cuyahoga County prosecutors asked that Evin King, 59, be freed while they further investigate his case.

Prosecutors said advances in DNA testing and understanding forensic evidence have called into question the theory of the crime that prosecutors presented at King's 1995 trial. The Ohio Innocence Project, which is part of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, represented him in multiple appeals.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley said Tuesday that his office consulted with the medical examiner, who explained that the way DNA evidence was interpreted at the time of King's trial is no longer valid.

"After learning of the current analysis of the evidence, I believe that it is my duty to vacate Evin King's conviction," O'Malley said. reports King learned about the development in a phone call from the Innocence Project.

"I knew this day would come one day, and I knew I would cry," King said through tears in a video of the call. Speaking of his mother, King said "she's looking down on me."

His girlfriend, Crystal Hudson, was found strangled in her closet in 1994. Of the two types of DNA found at the scene, one did not match King and the other could not be tested due to old DNA technology.

Prosecutors argued Hudson was with another man before her death, but King killed her. A jury convicted King, and he was sentenced to life in prison with eligibility for parole after 15 years.

The Innocence Project took his case and did new testing in 2009. The tests found both types of DNA from the scene matched the same person, whose DNA did not match King's.

Even with the new developments, prosecutors fought to keep King's conviction, and a county judge refused to grant a new trial.

O'Malley, who took office in January, assigned a new assistant prosecutor to take King's case. The Innocence Project praised his decision to void the conviction.

"In several past cases in Cuyahoga County, and today with Evin King's case, the prosecutors in Cleveland put justice above winning," the project's co-founder said.

Court records show King could be released from custody this week.

Judge Brian Corrigan has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday.