Zimmerman Freed; Murder Charge Dismissed

Eau Claire Police Chief Jerry Matysik says he'll meet with the district attorney to review a murder case in which the accused man was freed Friday. A judge dismissed the charge
Friday in the retrial of former Augusta police officer Evan Zimmerman.

The D-A made the request on the fifth day of Zimmerman's retrial in Dodge County Circuit Court, saying he didn't think he could win another conviction.

But Matysik says just because the charges were dropped, it doesn't mean police had the wrong suspect. Still, he says he'll consider whether any new evidence came up.

Zimmerman was accused of strangling his ex-girlfriend Kathleen Thompson, whose body was found on an Eau Claire street in February of 2000. He was convicted in 2001 of first-degree intentional homicide and sentenced to life in prison but an appeals court overturned it.

Wisconsin Innocence Project co-director Keith Findley was one of Zimmerman's lawyers.

He says the unprecedented move to drop the charges mid-trial shows the 58-year-old didn't commit the crime. He says there was very little evidence linking Zimmerman to the murder.

The Innocence Project previously won the release of two other men through D-N-A evidence.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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