California’s Longest-Serving Wrongfully Convicted Inmate Set Free in Ventura

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Michael Hanline looks toward his wife at the conclusion of proceedings where his conviction was vacated in Ventura County Superior Court on Monday. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

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A wrongfully convicted man who spent 36 years behind bars in California was set free Monday.

In Ventura, Superior Court Judge Donald D. Coleman ordered Michael Ray Hanline, 68, to be released but required that he still wear a GPS monitoring device.

It was found that DNA evidence collected at the crime scene did not match Hanline's or that of his alleged accomplice, according to court documents. Also, a key witness was found to be under the influence of drugs when she testified against him.

Hanline, who is the longest-serving wrongfully convicted inmate in California, is expected to appear again in February for a pretrial hearing because prosecutors haven’t decided whether to retry him.

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