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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

LOS ANGELES (AP)—A Southern California man who spent 19 years in prison for a gang-related shooting will be released, a judge ordered Friday.

Emon Barnes, 34, of Compton, is expected to be freed next week from San Quentin State Prison after the judge approved a re-sentencing request from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.

Barnes was 15 when he was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder for a 2001 shooting in his Los Angeles suburb. He was sentenced in adult court to 40 years to life in prison.

The case largely was based on testimony from a teenage shooting victim who identified Barnes but later recanted, according to the Project for the Innocent at Loyola Marymount University.

Prosecutors asked a judge to re-sentence Barnes to time served. California now bars 15-year-olds from facing adult sentences.

Barnes has said he was home with his mother at the time of the shooting, and his attorneys are trying to have his conviction vacated.

“The more we investigated, the more obvious it became that Emon was innocent,” attorney Michael Petersen said in a statement. “Emon was not in a gang. He was a quiet kid in a bad neighborhood. The police were simply way off when they set their sights on him.”

The case took on urgency because Barnes, who has sickle cell disease, contracted the coronavirus at San Quentin, which is dealing with an outbreak that has seen more than 2,200 inmates infected. Twenty-six have died.

Barnes recovered, his attorneys said.