Homicide

Alabama judge: Death row inmate seeking freedom got 'raw deal' in murder trial

FILE - In this undated file photo provided by the Alabama Department of Corrections shows death row inmate Donnis Musgrove. Musgrove, who been on death row for 27 years but says he is innocent, is asking a federal judge to overturn his case. Jefferson County Circuit Judge Tommy Nail says he believes Donnis George Musgrove and another man were wrongly convicted of capital murder in 1988, and he hopes a federal court now reviewing Musgrove’s appeal corrects the error. (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP, file)

FILE - In this undated file photo provided by the Alabama Department of Corrections shows death row inmate Donnis Musgrove. Musgrove, who been on death row for 27 years but says he is innocent, is asking a federal judge to overturn his case. Jefferson County Circuit Judge Tommy Nail says he believes Donnis George Musgrove and another man were wrongly convicted of capital murder in 1988, and he hopes a federal court now reviewing Musgrove’s appeal corrects the error. (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP, file)  (The Associated Press)

An Alabama inmate who has spent almost 30 years on death row for a murder he denies committing has an unusual supporter in his bid for freedom: A state judge who represented the man's co-defendant while working as a defense lawyer.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Tommy Nail tells The Associated Press he believes Donnis George Musgrove and another man were wrongly convicted of capital murder in 1988.

Nail says he hopes a federal court now reviewing Musgrove's appeal corrects the error.

Nail has been a judge since 1999. In the 1980s he represented David Rogers when Rogers and Musgrove were convicted in the gunshot killing of Coy Eugene Barron. Both men received the death sentence.

Rogers died in prison, and Musgrove is asking a federal judge to overturn his case.