PHOENIX (AP) - An ex-lifer freed from prison in Arizona after serving 37 years for two homicides has died in Colorado where he was imprisoned on sexual conduct convictions involving a child victim.
The Arizona Republic (https://goo.gl/7tw1dg ) reports that William Macumber died Oct. 10 at age 81, and Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman Laurie Kilpatrick confirmed Wednesday that Macumber is deceased.
Kilpatrick said she could not provide details of Macumber’s death, but Macumber attorney Larry Hammond said Macumber died of a severe lung illness after many decades of smoking.
Macumber long contended he was innocent of a 1962 Scottsdale double-killing and was framed by his ex-wife, which she denied.
Macumber was released from prison in Arizona in 2012 in a deal with prosecutors under which he pleaded no contest and was re-sentenced to time already served.
That was after defense attorneys argued that jurors weren’t told that another man had earlier confessed to the killings. A court ordered that Macumber be retried or released.
Hammond said Macumber also maintained he was innocent in the Colorado case.
A judge in that state on Jan. 5 granted a defense motion to dismiss Macumber’s convictions because he had a pending appeal when he died.
Hammond, who was one of several attorneys who represented Macumber in his Arizona case through the Arizona Justice Project, said he attended the Colorado trial.
“I choose to believe that had there been enough time for the state to respond and for the (appeals) court to hear the case, that conviction would have been set aside,” said Hammond. “Had he gotten a fair trial, he never would have been convicted. That’s what I believe.”
The Republic reported that Macumber’s Colorado arrest cost him the relationship he was building with his son, Ronald. “It makes me angry to no end, for the 12 years I spent to get him out of jail to do what he did,” the son told the newspaper following his father’s arrest.
Ronald Macumber said he still thought his father was not responsible for the 1962 killings.
This story has been corrected to describe the sexual conduct convictions in the Colorado case as involving one victim.
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