Southern California breaking news and trends

Frank O’Connell freed after judge overturns 27-year-old murder conviction

ca-criminal-defense.com

The case against South Pasadena resident Frank O'Connell was tossed out in the same courtroom where he was convicted 27 years ago.

For 27 years, Frank O’Connell maintained his innocence as he languished in prison for the 1984 shooting death of a man in South Pasadena.

Today O’Connell is out on bail, with his original trial -- the one that put him away for 25 years to life -- thrown out and a second one planned for the coming months. A preliminary hearing has been set for May 18.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports that O’Connell, 54, was released Saturday morning after posting a $75,000 bond set by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Suzette Clover -- the same judge who tossed out the conviction against him in late March. In overturning the case, the judge gave prosecutors a new chance to try him -- and set O’Connell’s bail at the original amount set by a judge in 1985.

The bail was posted by Centurion Ministries, a nonprofit group convinced of O’Connell’s innocence and working for his release. The group’s website says it is dedicated to gaining freedom for “those innocent individuals who had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the crimes for which they were convicted.”

Read More...

Judge tosses 27-year-old South Pas murder conviction

ca-criminal-defense.com

The case against South Pasadena resident Frank O'Connell was tossed out in the same courtroom where he was convicted 27 years ago.

Back in 1985, when people still drove Ford Pintos, South Pasadena resident Frank O’Connell was convicted of shooting a man to death and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Fast forward to last week, when Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Suzette Clover -- noting that the prosecutor’s key witness in that long-ago trial had recanted -- tossed out the conviction against O’Connell in another case of what some are calling prosecutorial misconduct.

According to the LA Times, the onetime Glendora High School football star was the prime suspect in the murder of Jay French, who was shot to death on Jan. 5, 1984 near a State Street apartment complex in South Pasadena where he lived.

As he lay dying, French reportedly stated that his killer drove a yellow Ford Pinto. He also said the shooter resembled someone known to French’s ex-wife, with whom French was fighting a child custody battle.

Read More...