Lawyers seek to free Texas man whose conviction was overturned in 1980 but who wasn't retried

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By MICHAEL GRACZYK, Associated Press

BAY CITY, Texas (AP) — Attorneys for a Texas man who was kept in prison for more than three decades after his murder conviction was overturned have asked a court to free him so he can get on with his life.

Attorney Jeffrey Newberry wrote in a recent court petition that Jerry Hartfield has suffered enough from the state's bungling of his case and that key evidence used to convict Hartfield in 1977 has gone missing. The case was overturned in 1980 and Hartfield's sentence was commuted from death to life in prison three years later.

Hartfield didn't challenge his continued detention until 2006. Courts determined there was no sentence to commute once Hartfield's conviction was overturned and ordered him retried or freed.

Hartfield is scheduled to stand trial again in April. He denies wrongdoing.

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