A US man who served 34 years for murder was freed after the sister of the sole witness said the testimony was a lie.
Brenda Anderson testified in 1979 that Kash Delano Register, 53, shot and killed her neighbour Jack Sasson in a carport attached to his Los Angeles home.
But more than three decades later, Anderson’s sister, Sharon, told a judge Register was the victim of a false testimony and an apparent police cover-up, the LA Times reports.
None of the seven fingerprints found on Sasson’s car matched Register’s and police never found the murder weapon, according to the newspaper. Investigators did seize a pair of pants from Register’s closet that had a speck of blood on them, but the blood type, O, matched both Sasson and Register.
At trial, prosecutors relied on the eyewitness testimony of Brenda Anderson, then 19, who said she was at home when she heard gunfire, looked out the window and saw Register sprinting from the Sassons’ carport.
Register was sentenced to 27 years to life in prison, despite his girlfriend testifying that he was with her at the time of the shooting.
Register’s release was set in motion in 2011, when another of Brenda Anderson’s sisters, Sheila Vanderkam, was horrified to discover he was still in prison.
At the time of the shooting, Vanderkam said her sisters had just hidden a package of beauty products they had stolen from a neighbour. Sharon Anderson said they heard gunfire, but weren’t close enough to get a good look at the shooter.
Vanderkam, who worked at the same LAPD station as the detectives investigating the shooting, claims she told police in 1979 that Brenda had lied.
“The detective placed his finger over his mouth (like a shush sound) and just stared at me,” Vanderkam said in her declaration. “He made it very clear to me, without actually saying anything, that I was to stay out of it.”
Sharon Anderson also said she told police at the time that they had the wrong man, but that her comments were never disclosed.
Register, who always maintained his innocence, held back tears as the ruling was made on Friday. [NL]