Judge overturns manslaughter conviction, faults state police

Nicholas McGuffin has maintained his innocence in the death of Leah Freeman, who was 15 when she disappeared from her hometown of Coquille in 2000.

Posted: Dec 2, 2019 12:03 PM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- A judge in Oregon has ruled that the Oregon State Police failed to reveal DNA evidence that would have exonerated a man charged with killing his girlfriend, and has overturned his manslaughter conviction.

Nicholas McGuffin has maintained his innocence in the death of Leah Freeman, who was 15 when she disappeared from her hometown of Coquille in 2000. Her body was found in the woods five weeks later.

Janis Puracal of the Forensic Justice Project, who is McGuffin's lead attorney, said McGuffin has spent nine years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

According to Puracal, Malheur County Circuit Judge Patricia Sullivan said in her ruling Monday that the Oregon State Police lab violated

McGuffin's constitutional rights by failing to disclose the DNA evidence. The state police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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