OAKLAND (CBS SF) — An Oakland man wept in court Friday after a judge dismissed his attempted murder conviction for a 2006 shooting he had no involvement in.
Ronald Ross, 51, who has been incarcerated for nearly seven years and faced the prospect of spending the rest of his life in state prison, was expected to be released from custody later Friday.
His mother, 77-year-old Thelma Ross, was allowed to hug Ross at the end of a hearing in Alameda County Superior Court and exclaimed, “Thank you Jesus! Thank you Lord!”
Ross was convicted on Nov. 8, 2006, for an April 15, 2006, incident in which Renardo Williams was shot in front of his apartment at the Campbell Village complex in West Oakland.
Williams identified Ross as the shooter after Oakland police included him in a photo lineup and also testified at the trial that Ross was the shooter.
However, Ross’s trial attorney, Michael Berger, believed that Ross was innocent and asked Santa Clara University School of Law’s Northern California Innocence Project to review the case.
The Innocence Project and the San Francisco law firm Keker & Van Nest then conducted a lengthy investigation, which concluded that there were multiple errors and that Ross was innocent.
The lawyers who represented Ross said Williams admitted after the trial that he never thought Ross was the shooter and implicated him only because he was pressured by Oakland police and feared that the real gunman would come after him.
That man is now in custody for an Oakland crime spree in July 2011 and prosecutors say they don’t plan to charge him with shooting Williams.
The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office conducted its own review of the case and concluded that Ross’s conviction should be thrown out because of the new evidence of his innocence.
At Friday’s hearing, Senior Deputy District Attorney Micheal O’Connor asked that Ross’s conviction be dismissed “in the interest of justice” and Superior Court Judge Jon Rolefson granted that request.
Rolefson said, “Congratulations to Mr. Ross and best wishes to you.”
Ross had been sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison. O’Connor said if his conviction hadn’t been dismissed, Ross might have spent the rest of his life in prison but would have been eligible for parole many years from now.
Ross had been in state prison for many years but was brought to the Alameda County Jail in Dublin last September for a series of habeas corpus hearings in Alameda County Superior Court that ultimately led to his conviction being dismissed Friday.
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