CRIME

Justin Michael Wolfe reversal upheld by appeals court

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal appeals court has affirmed a judge's decision to toss out a Prince William County man's murder-for-hire conviction and death sentence.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Thursday that it found no error in a federal judge's ruling that Justin Michael Wolfe was wrongfully convicted in the 2001 slaying of his marijuana supplier, Daniel Petrole Jr.

The triggerman, Owen Barber IV, in 2005 recanted his original testimony that Wolfe hired him to kill Petrole.

After a four-day evidentiary hearing last year, U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson of Norfolk found Barber's recantation credible and ruled that prosecutors improperly suppressed several pieces of evidence.

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