A house painter convicted of burglary and sentenced to 26 years in prison had one last chance at freedom Wednesday night.
The Arizona Executive Clemency Board held a final hearing in the case of Timothy Casner.
The ABC15 Investigators have been following the case for more than a year.
Casner has spent the last 14 years in prison for a crime he says he did not commit .
He learned his fate Wednesday night after a four-hour hearing before the board.
The five-member panel listened to Casner testify via telephone from prison in Kingman, Arizona.
Casner’s friends and family packed the hearing room hoping to get good news.
THE CASE AGAINST CASNER
It was back in 1999 that Casner’s case was front page news in Prescott.
He was accused of using his house painting business to burglarize his customers’ homes.
Casner has always insisted he is innocent but he was convicted by a jury of seven burglaries.
He told us he declined to take a plea deal that would have meant less than three years in prison.
Instead the judge gave him 26 years.
The ABC15 Investigators reviewed the evidence, examined the court file and trial transcripts and we found there was a startling lack of physical evidence in the case.
There were no fingerprints or footprints to link Casner to the burglaries.
No stolen items were ever recovered or ever linked to Casner.
And no search warrants were ever served.
The prosecution’s key witness recanted his testimony and told us he lied on the stand and was fed information.
Casner is out of appeals and clemency was his last hope for freedom.
CLEMENCY BOARD VOTES
Prosecutor Sheila Polk is now the Yavapai County Attorney.
She appeared at the hearing and defended the case against Casner.
Polk said the case was 100 percent circumstantial and it has been upheld through numerous appeals.
She urged the board not to commute Casner’s sentence.
Two of Casner’s family members also testified pointing out Tim has been a model prisoner with no infractions or discipline reports in 14 years in prison.
They asked the board to have mercy and allow Casner to return to his family.
But in a 4 to 1 decision the Clemency Board denied Casner’s petition for a commutation of his sentence.
Tim’s brother, Ron Casner said, “I feel my like brother died today." He then went on to say his whole family is devastated.
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