- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 5, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A man convicted of a 1975 murder will continue his life in prison, now that he’s lost another bid for freedom.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports (https://bit.ly/1PRrZIn ) that the Nebraska Pardons Board denied Michael Anderson’s request Monday for a hearing.

The hearing would have given the board a chance to consider commuting his sentence to a certain number of years, which could’ve made him eligible for parole. Gov. Pete Ricketts, Secretary of State John Gale and Attorney General Doug Peterson make up the board.

Anderson, now 64, was convicted of murder in the contract slaying of his employer, Ronald Abboud, an Omaha real estate broker. A friend, Peter Hochstein, was convicted of paying Anderson $1,500 to kill Abboud.

Anderson and Hochstein were taken off death row in 2001 and given life sentences. The two have maintained their innocence since their arrests.

Attorney Mark Porto, a volunteer with The Innocence Project, represented Anderson at the hearing Monday.

“He has been nothing short of a model inmate,” Porto told the board.

He said that Anderson works 40 hours a week, is a volunteer with the prison’s dog program and has never had problems with staff members. Porto asked the board to grant Anderson a hearing based on his character as someone who now has two college degrees and would be a productive member of society if released.

“I believe Mr. Anderson is innocent,” Porto said.

In the end, the board denied Anderson’s request for a hearing. Gale has argued that the board wanted to see an element of remorse in this case, but that Anderson hasn’t shown any.

Porto said he won’t stop fighting to prove Anderson’s innocence.

“We’re going to keep trying this,” Porto said. “We keep submitting more letters, and we just keep investing in the case.”

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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