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World News | Minnesota man’s murder charge dropped over wife’s death

World News | Minnesota man’s murder charge dropped over wife’s death

MINNESOTA, Jan. 15 (AP) — A Minnesota man serving nearly 25 years in prison for the death of his wife walked out of jail Friday after authorities quashed his murder conviction and allowed him to plead guilty to manslaughter, citing One expert’s testimony was questionable and the doctor’s statements in other cases were also under scrutiny.

Thomas Rhodes, 63, was convicted of first-degree and second-degree murder in 1998 for killing his wife, Jane Rhodes, 36. Spicer’s Green Lake, pictured in 1996 year.

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The attorney general’s office said in a statement Friday that the murder conviction hinged on the testimony of Dr. Michael McKee, who said Rhodes grabbed his wife by the neck, threw her overboard and repeatedly ran over her. Rhodes told investigators that while he was frantically searching for her in the dark, his wife fell from the boat and disappeared.

The Conviction Review Unit of the Attorney-General’s Office reviewed the case. As part of the investigation, a forensic pathologist found that Jane Rhodes’ death was not inconsistent with an accidental fall, the office said.

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“Following a thorough review of all evidence and circumstances, the CRU found that the medical evidence used to convict Mr Rhodes was flawed,” the statement said.

“I’m looking forward to hugging my sons Eric and Jason, being a wonderful grandfather to my six wonderful grandchildren, and having time to make new memories with family and friends,” Rhodes told CNN on Friday. Mankato Free Press.

A message left Saturday at the phone number listed by Michael McKee was not immediately returned. Efforts to reach him via social media were not immediately successful.

The state report did not exonerate Rhodes: The attorney general’s office said there was enough evidence to support a conviction for second-degree manslaughter, saying its negligence contributed to his wife’s death. Rhodes, however, has spent nearly 25 years behind bars, more than double the maximum sentence for manslaughter.

Knowing his wife couldn’t swim, Rhodes was driving an unstable boat at top speed late at night, the statement said. She was wearing neither a life jacket nor a life jacket. Also, the boat had no flashlights or a quick way to call for help.

On Friday, a Kandyyoshi County judge quashed Rhodes’ murder conviction.

The judge then accepted the plea for second-degree manslaughter, the Minnesota Department of Corrections said. Rhodes was sentenced to four years in prison and was released for time served, the Department of Corrections said.

Rhodes is the first person to be released from Minnesota since the 2021 Conviction Review Panel was established. The department reviews legal cases for people who claim to be innocent.

“He’s been happy,” Hayley Drozdowski-Poxleitner, a spokeswoman for the Great North Innocence Project, said of Rhodes. “It’s been a long, long time.”

The Great Northern Innocence Project, which works with the attorney general’s office, said in a release that nine forensic pathologists reviewed the case and found that Jane Rhodes’ injuries were likely caused by a severe blow to the head, possibly Either from a boat or accidentally hit by a boat while Rhodes was searching the waters.

The group said none of the forensic pathologists would call her death a murder.

McGee’s testimony has been challenged in several cases in recent years.

In 2021, a federal judge reversed the death sentence of a man convicted of kidnapping in the 2003 killing of North Dakota college student Dru Sjodin, in part because of McGee’s testimony.

That judge said new evidence showed McGee, the former Ramsey County medical examiner, was “guessing” on the witness stand. Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. is expected to be resentenced, and prosecutors say they will still seek the death penalty. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)

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