SACRAMENTO — California Gov. Jerry Brown is pardoning a man convicted of a 1978 double murder that included a child after modern DNA tests suggested he was probably innocent.
The Democratic governor announced Wednesday that he’s freeing 70-year-old Craig Richard Coley from prison.
Coley was convicted of killing his 24-year-old ex-girlfriend, Rhonda Wicht, and her 4-year-old son, Donald Wicht, in her Simi Valley apartment.
His request for clemency was supported by Simi Valley Police Chief David Livingstone and Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten. They said they cannot stand by the evidence used to convict Coley.
In a news release Monday, the police chief and prosecutor say they began reviewing the case last year after a retired detective raised concerns with Coley’s guilt. DNA tests did not find Coley’s DNA but did find DNA from other people.