I-Team: Man Innocent of Murder Remains in Jail

LAS VEGAS -- A man who spent more than 20 years in a Nevada prison for a crime he didn't commit has yet to be released from lock-up. Instead, the Florida Parole Commission insists he owes them more time.

Fred Steese first came to the attention of the I-Team as a man who'd been wrongfully convicted. A judge ruled earlier this year, that Steese was actually innocent of murder, based on new evidence that he wasn't in Nevada when the crime was committed.

But that was just one legal hurdle he had to clear. To resolve the case completely, Steese pleaded no contest to the crime, in exchange for his release from prison.

The state of Florida took custody of Steese on March 31. Florida insists Steese owes another three years in prison for a parole violation 25 years ago. Prior to his wrongful conviction for murder in Nevada, Steese failed to report to his Florida parole officer.

The parole commission's decision is entirely discretionary. It's aware that Steese served more than two decades in prison for a crime he didn't' commit, However the commission tells the I-Team, his circumstances in Nevada have no bearing on the Florida case.

Steese is not without his supporters. Earlier this week state Senator Tick Segerblom wrote a letter to the Florida Parole Commission asking that it not extradite Steese.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson, as part of the plea negotiations, drafted a note asking Florida to honor Nevada's deal and credit Steese with the time he already served. Wolfson, however, does not believe Steese is innocent.

A hearing before the parole commission should be scheduled in the coming weeks.


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