Kash Delano Register begins to cry as he realizes he will be a free man; with him are his lawyers, Lara Bazelon, left, Laurie Levenson, second from left, and Adam Grant, right, with the Loyola School of Law.
In 1979, Brenda Anderson testified that a young man with whom she had gone to high school shot her elderly neighbor to death.
Thirty-four years later, Anderson’s sister Sharon took the stand and said the account, which helped send the young man to prison, was a lie.
On Thursday, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge sided with Sharon Anderson and threw out the conviction of Kash Delano Register, who maintained his innocence during more than three decades as inmate No. C11693.
Judge Katherine Mader’s ruling eviscerated the case against Register, 53, who was convicted mainly on eyewitness testimony that his attorneys say was false. They also said police and prosecutors suppressed evidence that would have helped Register’s defense, accusations that Mader found credible.
When Mader announced her decision, Register puckered his face as if holding back tears, dropped his head to the table and trembled. His mother, Wilma, heaved with sobs.
“Thank you Lord Jesus for giving me my child back,” she cried, as she hugged attorneys from Loyola Law School’s Project for the Innocent who represented her son.
Register’s attorneys expect him to be released soon. Los Angeles County prosecutors said they would decide by next month whether to appeal her decision or retry him.
Prosecutors had argued that about 12:30 p.m. on April 6, 1979, Register shot Jack Sasson five times in the carport of his West Los Angeles home. Sasson, 78, died three weeks later.
At trial, the physical evidence against Register was scant, court papers said. None of the seven fingerprints found on Sasson’s car matched Register’s. Police never recovered the murder weapon.
They did seize a pair of pinstriped pants from Register’s closet, which had a speck of blood smaller than a pencil eraser. But it was of little value — the blood type, O, matched Sasson and Register.
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