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VOL. 44 | NO. 45 | Friday, November 6, 2020

Judge overturns conviction of Tennessee man serving life

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NASHVILLE (AP) — After reviewing new evidence, a Tennessee judge has overturned the conviction of a man serving life in prison for a 1998 slaying.

The ruling Tuesday came nearly two weeks after the Davidson County District Attorney's Office filed a motion to vacate the charges against Joseph Webster, who was convicted of murder in the killing Leroy Owens, news outlets reported. The move came after a unit in the prosecutor's office investigated the case and found new evidence not presented at trial.

"The Conviction Review Unit no longer has confidence in the conviction of Mr. Webster," the motion said. "We recommend Mr. Webster's conviction be vacated and the charges against him dismissed."

Evidence not presented at trial included several allegations against another suspect and DNA evidence found on the murder weapon that excluded Webster, 41.

"The Court is here to do justice according to our state and federal constitutions and per our state laws. Justice in this case, based on the information presented to the court, requires relief to the petitioner," Judge Steve Dozier wrote in his ruling.

Webster's attorney, Daniel Horwitz, said his client is grateful to the people who helped him get the conviction overturned.

"He hopes his faith and persistence will inspire others in the future, but for now he's just looking forward to reuniting with his family, eating a home-cooked meal and starting over," Horwitz said in a statement.

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