LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office will ask a judge Thursday to order a convicted murderer be released from state prison.
Prosecutors said new evidence raises doubts about Raymond Jennings’ conviction for the shooting death of an 18-year-old woman in a Palmdale park-and-ride lot, where he worked as a security guard.
The newly formed Conviction Review Unit is expected to ask a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to release the 42-year-old on his own recognizance, according to a statement released by the District Attorney’s Office.
On Feb. 18, 2010, Jennings was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison for the 2000 murder of Michelle O’Keefe, an Antelope Valley college student.
“My office has been presented with credible new evidence that brings this conviction into question,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey said. “In the interest of justice, I am asking the court to release Raymond Jennings on his own recognizance while this investigation continues.”
In February of 2000, O’Keefe came back to the Palmdale park-and-ride after spending the day in Los Angles working as an extra in a Kid Rock video.
Jennings, who was working as a security guard on routine patrol at the time, said he was the first to find her body. Investigators said she was slumped over in the front seat, shot four times in the chest and face. Police later arrested Jennings.
Prosecutors argued during trial that Jennings gave inconsistent statements and told detectives things only the killer would know. But no murder weapon was found, and no scientific evidence linked Jennings to the crime.
The Army National Guardsman and Iraq war veteran always said he was innocent.
His attorney believed a lot of mistakes were made in the early investigation, and the new evidence suggested that O’Keefe was killed possibly during a robbery or carjacking.