The longest-serving wrongfully convicted man in California was freed Monday. For the first time since 1978, Michael Hanline is not a prisoner. Arrested for the death of his friend J.T. McGarry and convicted in 1980, Hanline spent more than 35 years behind bars. His wife, Sandee, worked with the Innocence Project for more than 15 years to secure his release. Testimony uncovered in sealed police reports cast doubts on the state’s case, and DNA testing showed Hanline’s did not match the available evidence. “We were no longer comfortable with the conviction,” said Michael Lief, the senior deputy district attorney of Ventura County. “I feel like I’m in front of a missile and things are just flying by,” said Hanline upon release. “It’s incredible.” The state has until May 29 to decide if it will retry Hanline.
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