Court Ruling: Allows More Convicted Killers To Go Free
Updated: Friday, August 2 2013, 10:11 PM EDT
For the third time in three months, a group of convicted murderers walked out of court with their freedom -even though each one had been sentenced to life. Surrounded by attorneys who fought for their release, six men who had been convicted of murder walked out of court free for the first time in decades.
One of those men was, Zachary McCalister, who spent the past 38 years in prison. Back in 1975, McCalister was convicted of killing a butcher shop owner during an armed robbery. Just prior to setting him free, the state explained how they tried to find family members of McCalister’s victim, but they were unsuccessful.
Another man who was released today was, John Wesley Henderson. A judge sentenced Henderson to life plus 15 years for murder, but during his trial jurors were given instructions that MD’s Court of Appeals has found to be unconstitutional.
Mike Millemann, a professor with the Unveristy of Maryland School of Law, has handled many of these cases. He recalls the long process, which many of his law students have been involved in, saying, “This is a very unique and sad part of Maryland criminal history.”
Statewide it is expected that as many as 300 cases could be affected by the high court’s ruling. This will be a challenge for prosecutors, who will run the risk of a not guilty verdict if the cases are retried. But this unique predicament offers little comfort for the families of the victims.