A special prosecutor said Monday that there is insufficient evidence to retry a Virginia man whose capital murder conviction was overturned by a federal judge.
According to media reports, a judge in Culpeper County on Monday approved Fairfax County prosecutor Raymond F. Morrogh's motion to drop the case against Michael Wayne Hash. Morrogh said the move means Hash will remain free, although an investigation into the 1996 slaying of 74-year-old Thelma D. Scroggins is continuing.
Morrogh told the court about 40 people have been interviewed as part of the investigation, which is being handled by his office and Fairfax County police, but there is insufficient evidence to charge Hash.
U.S. District Judge James Turk overturned Hash's conviction in February because of police and prosecutorial misconduct and gave prosecutors six months -- until Aug. 28 -- to decide whether to retry him. In his 65-page opinion, Turk said Hash had made a showing of actual innocence.
Turk called Hash's conviction a “miscarriage of justice.” He criticized authorities for using a jailhouse snitch who lied on the stand, for not revealing exculpatory evidence and deals made with witnesses, and for using a witness who later claimed he lied on the stand after being fed details of the murder by police.
Hash served 12 years of a life sentence after being convicted in the slaying of Scroggins, who was shot during a robbery in her Lignum home. Another man, Jason Kloby, was acquitted, and Eric Weakley pleaded guilty after testifying against the other two. Weakley, now free after serving almost seven years in prison, has repudiated his confession and testimony.
Hash was 15 at the time of the slaying and 19 when he was convicted. He has been living with his parents in Crozet since his release in March.