Ponca City, OK

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Man released after serving nearly 17 years; DNA not found at crime scene

The Associated Press - September 12, 2019 4:33 pm

TULSA — A man convicted of killing a Tulsa, Oklahoma, lounge owner has been released after serving nearly 17 years of a sentence of life without parole after testing on evidence from the crime scene failed to find his DNA.

Willard O’Neal was released Thursday after pleading no contest in Tulsa to second-degree murder and being sentenced to time served for the fatal 2001 shooting of Bruce Chamberlain outside the Trapeze Lounge.

The Oklahoma Innocence Project took the Tulsa man’s case in 2015 and called for DNA testing of blood, shell casings and a beer bottle collected from the scene, which was conducted by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

Innocence project director Vicki Behenna says the test results found no DNA from O’Neal on the evidence.

 

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