- Associated Press - Thursday, November 26, 2015

BESSEMER, Ala. (AP) - An Alabama death row inmate who was seeking to overturn his murder conviction has died, one of his attorneys said Thursday.

Attorney Cissy Jackson said Donnis Musgrove died Wednesday night at the Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer, Alabama. Jackson said Musgrove was suffering from lung cancer.

“It was a privilege to know and represent Donnis,” Jackson said in an emailed statement. “My husband and I have been working for his release since 1997, and we are so sorry that he did not live to be exonerated.”

Musgrove, 67, was sentenced to die for the gunshot killing of Coy Eugene Barron in 1986.

However, Musgrove has steadfastly maintained his innocence, and his attorneys contend the prosecution falsified the evidence against him, including witness statements and a shell casing that was used to link him to the slaying.

The attorney general’s office previously has declined to comment on Musgrove’s legal arguments.

Musgrove was trying to become the third inmate freed from Alabama’s death row since April. Lawyers asked U.S. District Judge David Proctor to rule quickly because of Musgrove’s ill health.

Two other men have been released from Alabama’s death row since April after winning appeals. One of them, Anthony Ray Hinton, was tried by the same Jefferson County prosecutor and judge who handled Musgrove’s case, and the same ballistics expert was involved in each case.

Musgrove contended that the evidence of wrongdoing in his case is more extensive than in the case against Hinton.

The state had argued that rules prohibited Musgrove from making new claims about being innocent and bar him from questioning evidence used in his trial, but prosecutors didn’t directly addressed his arguments contending that he was wrongfully convicted based on bogus evidence conjured up by prosecutors and police.

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