Pasadena News Star


Case dismissed against Glendora man, whose 1985 murder conviction was overturned
By J.D. Velasco, SGVN
Posted:   06/11/2012 09:13:13 AM PDT

PASADENA - A Glendora man will not be retried after his 1984 murder conviction was overturned.

The case against Frank O'Connell, 54, was dismissed Monday after the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office declined to seek a retrial due to insufficient evidence. The District Attorney's office did request the case be dismissed "without prejudice" so they could pursue the case in the future, if they are able to produce sufficient evidence.

"We had no idea that they were going to dismiss today. I've been waiting so long for this," O'Connell said. "Finally they seem to understand."

The District Attorney's Office had been considering retrying O'Connell after his 1985 conviction for the Jan. 5, 1984 shooting death of 27-year-old Jay French of South Pasadena was overturned by Judge Suzette Clover in March. Clover cited recent witness recantations and improprieties in O'Connell's original murder trial.

At a hearing in February, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced plans to pursue a second trial for O'Connell, and a hearing date was set for May 18.

O'Connell has consistently maintained that he did not commit the South Pasadena slaying and has convinced others of his innocence as well, including family members, fellow inmates, prison officials and the nonprofit foundation Centurion Ministries, which works to free wrongly convicted inmates and took up O'Connell's case in 1998.
Frank O'Connell
Frank O'Connell greets well-wishers

Outside the courtroom, O'Connell hugged family members and thanked well-wishers while trying to absorb the news.

O'Connell said now that he is a "true free man," he intends to move to Colorado to be closer to his son, Nick O'Connell, 31.

"The first day of my future is right now," O'Connell said.

O'Connell said he hopes investigators will continue looking into the murder so that the real killer will be brought to justice.

"The victim's family, they need some kind of closure," he said.

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