Local News

King County man’s conviction overturned after 10 years in prison

SEATTLE — A King County man who spent 10 years in prison was released Friday after local law school students helped persuade King County prosecutors to reevaluate the man’s conviction.

According to the Innocence Project Northwest’s Facebook page, Brandon Olebar walked out of prison Friday after doubt grew surrounding his conviction for an armed robbery in 2003. Olebar was a client of the Innocence Project,  a nation-wide network of lawyers and advocates that work to free the wrongly convicted.

10yearOlebar was found guilty in 2003 of breaking into a home, pistol-whipping a man and stuffing him into a closet, the Seattle Times reported. The victim said as many eight attackers beat him in the incident, and the victim fingered Olebar as one of those responsible in a lineup days after the event. Olebar was convicted in a King County court based on the eyewitness testimony, despite lack of DNA evidence and a solid alibi.

Two law students — Nikki Carsley and Kathleen Klineall — decided to take up Olebar’s case after he claimed innocence. Carsley and Klineall tracked down the other convicted assailants, who told the two students that Olebar was not involved in the crime. King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg moved to vacate Olebar’s conviction following the new testimony.

According to the innocence project, as much as 75 percent of wrongful convictions come through eyewitness misidentification.

Olebar told the Seattle Times he was thankful for all those who believed in his innocence during his time behind bars, and said the feeling of finally being released was “unreal.”


5 Comments to “King County man’s conviction overturned after 10 years in prison”

    My View said:
    December 23, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    Just goes to show it doesn't take much to frame someone. You can get DNA from anywhere, photos / video can be faked, and fingerprints can be transferred. If no one is there to stand on your side and you don't have big bucks for your defense, your screwed.

    Guest said:
    December 23, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    Yeah but the cops aren't just grabbing people off the streets. Why was he involved in a lineup? A lot of these "innocent guys" aren't so innocent.

    My View said:
    December 24, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    But he was innocent and now ten years of his life are gone. Ten years he'll never get back, ever!

    ThinkN_Do said:
    December 25, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    If he denied involvement initially, why weren't the other assailants questioned regarding that issue and if they were, why were they not believed? How do we seal the gaping Hole in our system and what department is responsible for this?

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