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Lexington Man to Walk Free After 11 Years on Death Row

Joseph Lee Ard, originally convicted of killing his girlfriend and unborn baby, will walk free after 19 years in jail and 11 years on death row.

LEXINGTON, SC -- Joseph Lee Ard, a man who spent 11 years on death row after being convicted of killing his girlfriend and their unborn child, will be released from prison this week, according to multiple news reports. 

A jury decided last week that Ard did not intentionally kill his girlfriend, 17-year-old Madalyn Coffey, and their baby in 1993, according to a report from WIS. 

The jury found Ard guilty of involuntary manslaughter, according to a report in The State. The judge sentenced him to time served, meaning he'll be free after he's processed through the state prison system. 

Ard says that he didn't intentionally kill Coffey; the gun went off during a struggle. Ard said Coffey was threatening to kill herself, according to court documents. When he tried to pull the gun away, he said, it went off.

New evidence was presented during Ard's retrial that supported his story, according to The State, including scientific evidence of gunshot residue on Coffey's hands. 

Ard was originally convicted of two counts of murder in 1996 and sentenced to death row. 

The state Supreme Court granted him a new trial in 2007. The prosecution chose not to seek the death penalty in Ard's retrial. 

ERIC V WIZ August 01, 2012 at 02:24 AM
was the pathetic jury the same one that let OJ go? this asshole murdered his girfriend and baby and he's getting away with it he should be 6 feet under
Archie too August 01, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Wow!!! Did you just decide to skip the part about God creating Adam in His image from clay? No where in that passage does it mention procreation. When a cell divides.....LIFE begins.
CC A August 01, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Dave Robbins....so are you saying that a fetus is NOT breathing while in the womb??? And that it is NOT actually alive??? Because if it breathes, it IS alive!!
CC A August 01, 2012 at 04:55 AM
ERIC V. WIZ I agree with you. He murdered his gf & baby & should NOT get away with that fact! I I believe God should determine our death, however he should Not be released from prison.
RICK BOOTH August 01, 2012 at 05:28 AM
The governor of Texas hurries up and kills them when evidence is found to set them free. Perry's done it, check out the last one. He refused to look at DNAevidence that would have cleared him. It cost's the state a lot of money for wrongful imprisonment, like $80,000 a year

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