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Parole Board Decides To Set 75-Year-Old Man Free After Acquittal On Murder Charges In 1966 Police Shooting

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Gregg_Cherrie--NEW Cherri Gregg
Cherri Gregg is the community affairs reporter for KYW Newsr...
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By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Attorneys for the 75-year-old man held in prison for nearly two years after his his acquittal on murder charges in a 1966 police shooting say he could be home in a matter of days. As KYW’s Cherri Gregg reports, the attorneys got word from the parole board earlier Thursday.

“He was very pleased to hear the news of course.”

Philadelphia attorney Sam Silver says William Barnes will be headed home weeks after a federal judge recommended his release.

“We are very hopeful and expect that will be a matter of days, and not weeks or months.”

Barnes has been behind bars since Philadelphia Police Officer Walter Barclay died in 2007 at age 64. Prosecutors claimed Barclay’s death was directly caused by Barnes’ shooting and paralyzing him back in 1966. Barnes served his full sentence for the shooting and even though he was acquitted of the murder charges in 2010, he was kept in prison.

“In effect, we showed was that Barnes was being denied parole because of the homicide charges against him.”

A federal judge recommended Barnes’ release last month, stating “if due process means anything, it means that the state cannot punish an individual for conduct of which he has been acquitted.”

Silver says Barnes is in relatively good health and is looking forward to coming home.

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