LOS ANGELES (AP) – A Los Angeles man who spent 34 years behind bars for a decades-old killing was freed from jail Friday after his conviction was overturned.
Kash Delano Register, 53, walked out of the Twin Towers downtown jail at about 4:30 p.m. and was greeted by family members and attorneys.
“I’m just in a numb feeling right now,” Register told reporters. “You know, it just hasn’t really set in yet. I know it’s real, but it just hasn’t truly set in yet. It’s a beautiful feeling, though.”
Register was convicted of killing Jack Sasson, 78, in April 1979 and sentenced to 27 years to life in prison. He always maintained his innocence.
Superior Court Judge Katherine Mader threw out the conviction on Thursday, ruling that prosecutors used false testimony at trial and failed to disclose exculpatory evidence. Prosecutors said they would decide by next month whether to appeal the decision or retry him.
Register was convicted mainly on alleged eyewitness testimony. None of the seven fingerprints found on Sasson’s car matched Register’s, and police never recovered the murder weapon.
Register’s girlfriend said he was with her at the time of the shooting but prosecutors relied on the testimony of Brenda Anderson, who identified Register as the gunman.
Two of Anderson’s sisters said their sibling lied about seeing Register running away from the crime scene.
Sheila Vanderkam said she and Sharon Anderson tried to tell police in 1979 that their sister lied, but a detective placed his finger over his mouth, indicating they should keep silent.
“He made it very clear to me, without actually saying anything, that I was to stay out of it,” Vanderkam said in a court declaration.
Vanderkam also said her sisters had hidden a package of Avon products at the time of the shooting that they had stolen from a neighbor. Sharon Anderson said police threatened to lock her up for the stolen package.
Brenda Anderson has repeatedly changed her account. When asked in court last month whether Register had been the shooter, she replied, “It may or may not have been that person.”
Information from: Los Angeles Times,