ALTAMONT, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Tennessee man was freed on Friday after spending 12 years in prison wrongfully convicted of murder.
Adam Braseel was given a life in prison sentence in 2007 for the murder of Malcolm Burrows. The attorney's office representing Braseel said the conviction was due to a mistaken identity as no physical evidence placed him at the scene of the crime.
In December 2015, Circuit Judge Justin Angel ordered a new trial for Braseel, overturning his conviction. However, ten months later the state Court of Criminal Appeals overruled the decision and sent him back to prison.
Over the course of the next three years, new evidence, including fingerprint evidence, was discovered. Grundy County Sheriff Clint Shrum supported Braseel's push for a new trial given the new physical evidence, his attorney's office said.
During the new trial proceedings, a witness testified that another man confessed to committing the murder. A responding officer also said under oath that records regarding the initial investigation that helped convict Braseel were inaccurate.
In a deal with prosecutors, Braseel accepted a "best interest" deal pleading guilty to aggravated assault after the murder charges were dropped. This plea allowed for his immediate release after 12 years in prison.
“This is an incredible and important day for Adam and his family. We can never forget, however, that there is another family grieving. But justice does not mean that an innocent man should spend 12 years in jail. In this country, our system of justice is imperfect. Adam has always maintained his innocence, and the facts bear that out. Today’s result was a small step in the right direction. I have been honored to represent Adam and look forward to his contributions to our community,” said Alex Little, who represented Braseel.