Man Freed From Prison As New DNA Test Casts Doubt In Slaying

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) – Defense attorneys say a man imprisoned for roughly 12 years for a woman’s 2002 killing in West Virginia has been released as an investigation continues into newly discovered evidence casting doubt on his and three other men’s guilt.

The Herald-Dispatch reports 37-year-old Phillip Scott Barnett was released Thursday from the Parkersburg Correctional Center by a Cabell County Circuit Court judge’s order. Barnett, his brother Nathaniel, and Justin Keith Black were convicted in the death of 21-year-old Deanna L. Crawford.

The Innocence Project represents Barnett. Staff attorney Karen Thompson says she was thrilled he was released. Thompson says a DNA test’s results from earlier this year tie another man to the death.

Brian Emerson Dement is the last of the four in prison.