Man convicted of killing girlfriend in 2000 to be released
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon man convicted of manslaughter after the 2000 death of his 15-year-old girlfriend is expected to walk out of prison after the state decided not to appeal a recent ruling that overturned the conviction.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier said lawyers for the state told him they wouldn’t appeal. Frasier also decided against a new trial for Nicholas McGuffin, 37, in the death of Leah Freeman.
A judge earlier this month overturned McGuffin’s conviction because the Oregon State Police crime lab failed to disclose that it had found another man’s DNA on the girl’s shoe. Malheur County Circuit Senior Judge Patricia Sullivan concluded that the DNA information could have led the jury to acquit McGuffin.
Frasier said he thinks authorities convicted the right person, but a new trial would be challenge years after her death. He said he doubted he would be able to prepare for a trial before McGuffin’s scheduled release next August. McGuffin was expected to leave prison late Tuesday.
Frasier said additionally Cory Courtright, Freeman’s mother, opposed another trial.
The DA’s decision means McGuffin leaves prison with a clean record. He served nine years of a 10-year sentence.
Freeman vanished June 28, 2000, after leaving a friend’s house. Her body was found five weeks later down a steep embankment. It was so badly decomposed, the medical examiner could not determine how she died.