New Evidence Helps Murder Convict
June 11, 2001
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A man serving a life sentence for two 1984 murders was released from prison on bail Monday after a judge said she believed there were problems with his trial.
``I didn't do it, and I've been saying it for 17 years,'' said Glen ``Buddy'' Nickerson, hugging his attorneys after his release.
New evidence gathered by the lawyers includes the recent filing of murder charges against a suspect who has been linked to the murders through DNA evidence, admitted he was there and told investigators that Nickerson had nothing to do with the crimes.
Nickerson was convicted in an ambush shooting at a condominium near San Jose. After an apparent botched drug deal, two men were shot to death in a gunfight. Authorities eventually convicted Nickerson and two others.
In March, authorities charged William Jahn in the case after DNA testing linked him to blood at the murder scene. He also has scarring and metal fragments in his body from a gunshot wound. His trial is pending.
While in custody on a drug and weapons charge in 1997, Jahn allegedly told Nickerson's lawyers that Nickerson was not involved.
On Monday, Nickerson's family posted $500,000 bail before U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero, who ordered the inmate to get a job and stay out of trouble while his appeal proceeds.
``I give my word, your honor,'' replied Nickerson, 45.
Deputy Attorney General Gregory Ott objected to the inmate's release, telling Spero, ``We are dealing with a convicted double murderer.''
On June 1, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel said the new evidence suggests that Nickerson's trial ``was marked by suppression and destruction of evidence and perjury by the state's investigators.'' She ordered his release.
Patel has ordered prosecutors to outline what evidence they have to contradict the new defense evidence. Such evidence has not been forthcoming, she has said.
``We can drag this out when he's not in custody,'' Patel said during
a hearing last month.