PASADENA – A Glendora man who had his conviction for the 1984 murder of a South Pasadena man overturned last month was expected to be freed following an emotional hearing Friday in Pasadena Superior Court.
Throughout his 27 years behind bars, Frank O’Connell, 54, has maintained that he did not shoot and kill 27-year-old Jay French in South Pasadena on Jan. 5, 1984.
Finding major problems with O’Connell’s murder trial, Pasadena Superior Court Judge Suzette Clover threw out the conviction March 29.
Clover cited several issues that she said denied him a fair trial. Key eye witnesses in the case have recanted their testimony and Clover found that potentially important information, including hand-written notes by detectives containing potentially exculpatory information, had not been turned over to the defense.
But O’Connell’s release was not arranged until Friday’s followup hearing.
Deputy District Attorney Scott Goodwin announced plans at the hearing to re-try the murder case, and a pre-trial hearing was set for May 18 in Pasadena Superior Court.
Still, O’Connell was expected to be freed within hours, or by early next week at the latest, after Judge Suzette Clover set his bail at $75,000 – the same amount initially set by the presiding judge in the first murder trial. Murder suspects arrested today are generally held in lieu of $1 million bail.