- Associated Press - Monday, September 21, 2015

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Nevada judge ordered the release on Monday of a Las Vegas man jailed for more than seven years while facing sex assault and lewdness charges involving a 14-year-old girl, but never convicted of the crime.

With 65 prospective jurors waiting in the hallway, 48-year-old Warren Shannon McClinton pleaded an equivalent of no contest to felony second-degree kidnapping in a deal that spares him any more time behind bars. His so-called Alford plea didn’t admit guilt, but conceded that prosecutors could prove their case.

“It was too big a risk to go through trial again,” defense attorney Ozzie Fumo said outside court.

McClinton’s case drew attention as he lingered behind bars for several years, unable to post the $130,000 bail set by the judge.

With more than seven years already served in the Clark County jail, McClinton was promised 30 months of probation when he’s formally sentenced Jan. 26. Clark County District Court Judge Eric Johnson ordered McClinton freed without bail.

McClinton said he plans to move to Chicago to serve his probation. He won’t have to register as a sex offender.

Johnson told McClinton that if he violates probation, he could face five to 15 years in Nevada state prison.

McClinton was acquitted of one sex assault charge at his first trial in June, and jurors were deadlocked on seven others including sexual assault, lewdness and battery. He could have gotten him life in prison.

His defense attorneys maintained that DNA evidence obtained from the girl’s bed and panties showed she had sex with at least three men, but not McClinton.

McClinton stood with Fumo and attorney Tom Pitaro and essentially admitted entering a room and preventing the daughter of a friend from leaving while he yelled at her.

Prosecutors James Sweetin and Dena Rinetti noted outside court that the unresolved case was difficult for the girl, who testified at the first trial.

They also noted that McClinton changed lawyers about 10 times over the years.

“It got to a point where it was in the best interest of the state and the victim to resolve the case without putting the victim through another trial,” Sweetin said.

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