One-time death row inmate being freed after plea

OZARK, Ala. (AP) — A man who spent about 15 years on Alabama’s death row is being set free.

News outlets report 43-year-old Emanuel Aaron Gissendanner is being released after pleading guilty on Monday to the killing of 77-year-old Margaret Snellgrove in 2001.

Gissendanner was originally convicted of capital murder and sent to death row in 2004. A court ordered a new trial because of defense mistakes.

The state let Gissendanner plead guilty to a reduced charge of murder rather than go through another trial. A judge then said he can be freed based on the time he’s served for killing the woman during a robbery.

Defense lawyer Becca Wahlquist says a new trial could have vindicated Gissendanner, but there wasn’t any point in him spending more time in prison.

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