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OKLAHOMA CITY – A group of lawyers is asking a court to reverse the conviction of an Oklahoma man convicted of murder.

The Oklahoma Innocence Project (OIP) recently filed a brief claiming that newly discovered evidence proves William O’Neal is innocent.

O’Neal is accused of killing Bruce Chamberlain in 2001 outside his bar, the Trapeze Lounge.

OIP says the state’s case rested on witnesses who gave false testimony and a ballistics expert who improperly testified about a gun that was mishandled by two law enforcement agencies.

O’Neal was sentenced to live in prison without the possibility of parole.

In their brief, the OIP claims that substantial evidence was not presented at O’Neal’s trial that would prove his innocence.

They say that evidence includes:

  • An individual (not O’Neal) was involved in the crime and solicited other individuals to help carry out a robbery at the Trapeze Lounge
  • That individual fabricated a false story implicating O’Neal
  • That individual was bipolar and taking prescription medicine at the time O’Neal was falsely implicated
  • Deals were given to witnesses in exchange for testimony, which were not disclosed to O’Neal
  • Alternative suspects existed but were not investigated
  • O’Neal was home with three other individuals at the time of the murder; an alibi that was not presented at trial
  • Evidence was improperly transferred, stored and repaired by multiple police agencies

“My client had an alibi at the exact time the crime was taking place and the DNA evidence at the scene was not attributable to Mr. O’Neal,” said Christina Green, O’Neal’s attorney and interim legal director at the Oklahoma Innocence Project. “To make matters worse, the state withheld DNA and other evidence from my client’s original trial attorney, in violation of his 14th amendment right to due process. As a result, he was ultimately convicted. The fact that the state failed to disclose all of their evidence, as requested by Mr. O’Neal’s original defense attorney, is a miscarriage of justice that should be rectified.”

 

 

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