Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

DNA Evidence Frees Lifer in 1988 Slaying

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

DNA Evidence Frees Lifer in 1988 Slaying

Article excerpt

AUSTIN, Texas -- A man who confessed to a murder 13 years ago was freed from prison yesterday after being cleared by DNA evidence gathered by a group of law students.

Christopher Ochoa, 34, was ordered released by state District Judge Bob Perkins, who said the case was "a fundamental miscarriage of justice." Ochoa was serving a life sentence.

"I had given up on the system," Ochoa said after embracing his weeping mother. "We have to fix it, because I came close to losing my life."

Ochoa, 34, confessed to killing Nancy DePriest at a Pizza Hut in Austin in 1988, but later said he was coerced by homicide detectives.

At his request, students in the Wisconsin Innocence Project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studied the case and found DNA evidence they said proved someone else shot DePriest. The second- and third-year law students investigate possible wrongful convictions.

Authorities said the new evidence points to Achim Joseph Marino, a Texas inmate who confessed to DePriest's rape and murder in 1996 after a religious conversion and provided police with the gun and handcuffs he used to commit the crime. …

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