Judge: Man cleared of murder deserves freedom

February 7, 2012 - 6:35 PM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A federal judge is recommending the release of a 76-year-old Philadelphia man who remains behind bars nearly two years after his acquittal on murder charges stemming from the death of a police officer 41 years after he was shot.

William Barnes has been incarcerated since Officer Walter Barclay died in 2007.

Prosecutors claimed it was the result of Barnes shooting and paralyzing Barclay in 1966. A jury acquitted Barnes of murder in 2010, but he's still imprisoned.

U.S. Magistrate Timothy Rice on Tuesday recommended that Barnes should be released.

Rice says Barnes has endured "a shocking pattern of arbitrary and irrational expectations, requirements, and parole denials."

The report and recommendation now goes to a federal judge in Allentown, who will make the official ruling. It's unclear when that will be.