OKLAHOMA CITY – A man wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder will be a free man on Thursday.
In 2001, Willard O’Neal was convicted for the murder of a strip club owner and attempted murder of the owner’s bodyguard.
According to the Oklahoma Innocence Project, the conviction was based on fabricated testimony of the state’s main witness, saying the witness received a plea deal for her testimony.
O’Neal was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole in 2004.
The Oklahoma Innocence Project asked for new DNA testing in 2016, and last year, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation determined O’Neal was not a contributor and his DNA was excluded from tested items.
On September 4, the district attorney offered to resolve O’Neal’s case with a no contest plea to second-degree murder.
His sentence was credited with time he has served, meaning he will be released on Thursday.