Calif. man ordered freed after 21 years in prison

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco man whose murder conviction was overturned has been ordered released from prison after more than 20 years behind bars.

A judge ruled Friday that 43-year-old Maurice Caldwell be set free after prosecutors who wanted to retry him discovered evidence in the case had been destroyed.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Charles Haines says that evidence was needed to assure Caldwell a fair trial.

Caldwell had spent 21 years behind bars in the fatal 1990 shooting of Judy Acosta when Haines overturned his conviction last year. Haines said Caldwell hadn’t received an effective defense.

Acosta was allegedly shot over a drug deal gone bad at a San Francisco public housing project.

Acosta’s cousin, Raelyn Acosta, tells the San Francisco Chronicle that the family still believes Caldwell is guilty.

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Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle

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