Charges Dropped Against Man Who Spent 26 Years in Prison for Murder - NECN
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Charges Dropped Against Man Who Spent 26 Years in Prison for Murder

(Published Friday, April 10, 2015)

Charges have been dropped against a man who spent more than 26 years for a 1987 murder.

Richard LaPointe was arrested on July 4, 1989, and convicted of raping and killing 88-year-old Bernice Martin, the grandmother of Lapointe's wife at the time, and great grandmother of his son, who he hasn't seen since.

In April, LaPointe walked out of court, free on bond, and was granted a new trial. On Friday, charges against him were dropped.

"I feel great, I feel like a million dollars, old and used," LaPointe said after the decision was handed down.

Bernice Martin had been raped, stabbed and strangled in her burning Manchester apartment.

In 2014, a lower court overturned LaPointe's 1992 conviction after his attorneys argued that DNA evidence provided his innocence and called his first defense team ineffective.

In March, the state Supreme Court ruled that LaPointe was deprived of a fair trial because prosecutors failed to disclose material that might have given him a credible alibi.

Court officials said prosecutors suppressed key evidence that put LaPointe at home watching television during the time Martin's apartment went up in flames.

LaPointe suffers from brain damage, according to reports, and his advocates have questioned the validity of a confession he made to police in Martin's slaying.

State officials maintain that LaPointe committed the crime, but said they don't think they can prove it.

LaPointe's attorney says the evidence in the case says otherwise.

"They can say whatever they want to say in the courtroom, but the facts remain that all the evidence excludes him. The facts remain that he had a coerced confession, which we proved in court that the Connecticut Supreme Court recognized," attorney Paul Casteleiro said.

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