Judge declares woman who spent 17 years in California prison innocent

Global News

TORRANCE, Calif. – A woman who spent 17 years in a California prison for a murder she didn’t commit was declared factually innocent Friday, clearing the way for her to collect about $600,000 in compensation from the state.

Susan Mellen, 59, said she was “so grateful” for the ruling that came about six weeks after her conviction was overturned and she was released from state prison.

“I feel really badly about what happened here,” Judge Mark Arnold said, according to City News Service.

Arnold overturned Mellen’s conviction in the 1997 beating death of a homeless man because she was poorly represented at trial and a woman who claimed to have heard Mellen confess was a habitual liar.

Mellen’s conviction in orchestrating the killing of Richard Daly was based on witness testimony.

Deputy District Attorney Loren Naiman, who didn’t handle the case at trial, said the incriminating testimony was doubtful and asked…

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