Okla. Man Wrongfully Convicted Of Murder To Walk Free
Thursday, September 12th 2019, 5:26 AM CDT
OKLAHOMA CITY - It’s been 17 years since Willard O'Neal was wrongfully convicted of first degree murder.
Thursday morning he will finally walk as a free man, and it’s all with a lot of help from the law students at Oklahoma City University.
In 2001 O'Neal was convicted of first degree murder, after it was ruled he killed a Tulsa strip club owner and a bodyguard. In 2004, he was sentenced to life without parole.
In 2015, the Oklahoma Innocence Project at the Oklahoma City University School of Law started working on Oneals case.
That year, the group filed a motion with the district court of Tulsa County to have evidence from the crime scene tested. OSBI confirmed later that year that none of O’Neals DNA matched any DNA taken from the crime scene.
However this still wasn't enough for the District Attorneys office to release O'Neal.
less than two weeks ago, the Tulsa County District Attorney’s office offered to resolve the O'Neal case by offering a plea that would change O'Neals charge to second degree murder with a sentence of time already served.
The plea agreement hearing plans to take place at 9:30 a.m. Thursday. The Oklahoma Innocence Project said he should be released immediately after.