Texas

Texas Court grants appeal after 35 years without conviction

FILE - In this Dec. 11, 2012 file photo, Jerry Hartfield speaks from a visiting area at the Hughes Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice outside Gatesville, Texas. A Texas district court of appeals panel issued an opinion on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, saying that Hartfield, an inmate imprisoned for more than 35 years after his murder conviction was overturned should go free. (AP Photo/Michael Graczyk, File)

FILE - In this Dec. 11, 2012 file photo, Jerry Hartfield speaks from a visiting area at the Hughes Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice outside Gatesville, Texas. A Texas district court of appeals panel issued an opinion on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, saying that Hartfield, an inmate imprisoned for more than 35 years after his murder conviction was overturned should go free. (AP Photo/Michael Graczyk, File)  (The Associated Press)

A Texas district court of appeals panel says an inmate imprisoned for more than 35 years after his murder conviction was overturned should go free.

The panel issued an opinion Thursday dismissing the conviction of 60-year-old Jerry Hartsfield saying he's been through "a criminal justice nightmare" after the state failed to retry him for decades.

Attorney Jeffrey Newberry says he requested a phone call with Hartsfield but was unsure if he knew about the ruling. It's unclear when or if he'll be released.

Hartfield's 1980 conviction in the killing of a Bay City woman was dismissed on appeal. In 1983, Gov. Mark White commuted his death sentence to life, but courts found the sentence had already been overturned.

Hartsfield was found guilty after a 2015 retrial and sentenced to life in prison.