Calif. criminal killed one hour after jury sets him free by mistake

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A career criminal named Bobby Lee Pearson was accidentally freed by a jury in Fresno Wednesday at 11:57 p.m., and within one hour he was dead. He was stabbed in the torso and the head by a suspect at his sister’s home.

“Weird stuff, huh?” said Fresno police Sgt. Jaime Rios, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday. “That he’s released, and while he’s out, he’s murdered. This is the first time I’ve ever heard of it.”

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The jury, which meant to convict Mr. Pearson and two other co-defendants of burglarizing an apartment and stealing a gun and video system last year, filled out a not-guilty form by mistake, the Fresno Bee reported Wednesday.

“I can’t believe it,” said Judge W. Kent Hamlin of Fresno County Superior Court after Mr. Pearson’s accidental release, the Bee reported. “I can’t change it because double jeopardy has already attached. This has never happened to me in more than 100 jury trials that I have done.”

Police have not released the name of Mr. Pearson’s slaying suspect but are still searching for him, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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