Sentenced to 26 years for burglary, Tim Casner has one last chance at freedom from Clemency Board

A man convicted of burglary is sentenced to 26 years in prison.

But Tim Casner has one last chance to win his freedom.

It's a story we broke last year exposing what Casner's defense attorneys call a startling lack of evidence that raises doubt about his case.
Tim Casner wants the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency to set him free after 14 years in prison—with 12 years left on his sentence.

He has submitted a petition and enclosed a copy of the ABC15 Investigators' report.

Kayla Casner Cartwright says she just wants to be able to hug her father and introduce him to his three grandsons.

Tim has never met three-year-old Cruz, one-year-old Nyxon or six-week-old Max.

Kayla was only 11 years old back in 1999 when her father's case was front page news in Prescott, Arizona.

Tim Casner was a house painter when he was accused of burglarizing his customers' homes.

Casner has always insisted he was innocent and he refused to accept a plea deal he was offered that would have meant less than three years in prison.

Kayla told us it was difficult growing up with the knowledge her father was in prison but she never believed he was a criminal.

ABC15 Investigators examined the court file and looked at the evidence against Casner.

His defense attorneys say and court records show:

  • No search warrants were served in the case.
  • No physical evidence like fingerprints linking Casner to any of the crime scenes was discovered.
  • No stolen items were ever recovered or linked to Casner.
  • And there were no eyewitnesses.

The lead detective in the case never visited some of the crime scenes and never interviewed some of the victims.

The prosecution's key witness at trial was Casner's uncle.

Gary Lewis was a drug addict facing a decade in prison on narcotics charges. He traded his testimony against his nephew for leniency. 

But Gary Lewis has signed an affidavit recanting his testimony.

We tracked him down in California and he told ABC15 Investigators he lied on the stand after he was fed information.

Despite what his lawyers call an appalling lack of evidence, the jury convicted Casner of seven burglaries and the judge sentenced him to 26 years in prison. 

Kayla said, "Everybody I tell, they can't believe it—26 years for burglary? It's not right. I honestly believe he's innocent."

Kayla Casner Cartwright may not be the only person who thinks Casner's sentence was excessive.

At an initial hearing before the Arizona Executive Clemency Board last month, board members were critical of the sentence.

The Clemency Board is Casner's last chance at freedom.

He is out of appeals.

But he's hoping the board either believes his claim of innocence or determines his sentence is excessive and commutes it to time served.

The board agreed to allow Casner to have a second hearing and it will determine his fate.

Casner's daughter wants the board to realize he has been a model prisoner, has never been violent and he's a good person.

Kayla said, "I would like him to be here for his grandchildren and for me."

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