Two brothers who were erroneously convicted in separate murder cases have now been reunited, with a private investigator saying he's "never seen" anything like the harrowing mishandlings of justice uncovered in decades-old court transcripts.
48-year-old Oklahoma man Corey Atchison walked free Tuesday after serving 28 years behind bars due to being convicted of the 1990 shooting death of James Lane, according to an extensive Washington Post piece on the brothers' separate but terrifyingly similar convictions.
Per District Judge Sharon Holmes, Atchison's conviction had occurred due to a "fundamental miscarriage of justice." Holmes previously overturned an unrelated murder conviction against Atchison's younger brother Malcolm Scott back in 2016.
This miscarriage of justice, private investigator Eric Cullen discovered, included alleged testimony coercion against a 15-year-old witness at the hands of an "aggressive DA." Cullen had started looking into Atchison's case after a friend of his had asked him to do so amid trial proceedings for Scott. Additionally, a key witness was discovered to have walked back their testimony with similar claims of originally being pressured to pin the crime on Atchison.
Cullen also pointed the Post to the fact that both cases shared a now-ex detective who he says was involved in this coercion, with the P.I. even predicting that there will be additional overturned convictions in the coming years.
Upon his freedom, Atchison—who was initially arrested mere months before the birth of his daughter—said he doesn't hold a grudge, as life is "too short." Those involved with the prosecution, meanwhile, have disputed the accounts of coercion.
Holmes' ruling will now be appealed by the state of Oklahoma.