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A man's 40-year fight to clear his name of two murders he claims to have never committed

Posted at 3:26 PM, Nov 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 17:48:42-05

BALTIMORE — A man is seeking a pardon from Governor Larry Hogan after spending 32-years behind bars for a double murder he says he didn't commit.

For the past 40-years John Huffington's fate has hung in the balance of a court room.

In November of 1981, he was convicted of murdering Diane Becker and Joseph Hudson in Abingdon.

That verdict was overturned by the Maryland Court of Appeals in 1982, forcing a new trial.

Two years later, Huffington was again found guilty and sentenced to decades in prison.

His lawyers blamed the outcome on retired former Harford County State's Attorney, Joseph Cassilly.

In October of 1999, it was revealed an FBI agent who testified against Huffington at trial was unqualified.

One of the key pieces of evidence in the case was a sliver of hair with the question being who it belonged to.

The FBI agent swore under oath it was Huffington's, but the U.S. Department of Justice said DNA examination was not the expertise of that agent.

According to Huffington's attorneys, Casilly knew this to be the case but withheld it from the defense during trial.

Huffington's team later asked for further analysis of the hair. Casilly's office denied the request and even went as far to seek court approval to destroy the hair.

A judge turned Casilly's office down and ordered the hair to undergo DNA testing.

In May 2013, Huffington got his prior convictions tossed out when the test showed the hair wasn't his. Two months later he was finally released from prison.

Still not out of the woods, Huffington was ordered to stand trial a third time. In 2017, his lawyers finally agreed to an Alford Plea, which does not admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence to convict.

A judge eventually sentenced Huffington to time served and unsupervised probation, allowing him to remain free.

Last month, the Court of Appeals for Maryland ruled to disbar Cassilly in large part over his dishonesty in Huffington's case.

As for Huffington, he's now Director of Business Development for a company that invests in local Baltimore businesses. He also volunteers for charities that focuses on assisting those recently released from jail.

“For 40 years, I have been sharing my truth publicly while facing the very harsh realities of being wrongly convicted and imprisoned for crimes that I did not commit,” said Huffington. “By pardoning me, Governor Hogan can correct the injustices I have suffered and clear my name.”

You can check out his petition to Governor Hogan here. So far 243 people have signed.