PHILADELPHIA – A U.S. appeals court has granted the "unconditional" release of an elderly Philadelphia man whose conviction in a 1964 murder has long come into question.
The judges say Louis Mickens-Thomas can leave prison as soon as two law professors defending the 82-year-old can find him somewhere to live.
Mickens-Thomas has spent the last five years in prison on a parole violation for failing to complete sex-offender therapy. He denies he is a sex offender.
Defenders say his conviction in the rape and murder of 12-year-old neighbor Edith Cooper were tainted by a later-disgraced lab expert.
A governor awarded him clemency in 1995.
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has called state parole officials "vindictive" toward Mickens-Thomas. The court this week again ordered his release.
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