By Matt Sledge
Family members of a man who spent nearly 14 years in prison on a now tossed murder conviction clapped in court as prosecutors said Monday they won’t attempt to try him again.
With an unusual public apology to all involved, a New Orleans prosecutor said his office was dropping the case against Kaliegh Smith, whose second-degree murder conviction was overturned last month after prosecutors agreed that his defense at trial was denied key evidence.
“Thank you, Lord,” one of Smith’s supporters said as the news was announced in court.
Smith’s case is at least the fourth time that District Attorney Jason Williams has agreed to reverse a conviction since taking office Jan. 11.
Smith, 49, had been convicted of the fatal shooting of Jason Anderson in the 8700 block of Gervais Street in New Orleans East on Oct. 20, 2007.
The case against him rested largely on the word of a witness who claimed she saw Smith and Anderson engaged in a life-and-death struggle across the street from her house, and watched as Smith shot Anderson.
However, last year Smith’s attorneys at the Innocence Project New Orleans filed a court brief alleging that prosecutors hid information from the defense at the 2010 trial about rental payments the District Attorney’s Office made on behalf of the witness.
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