(Courtesy of Arizona Dept. of Corrections) Bill Macumber was convicted in the 1962 shooting deaths of two people in Scottsdale.
A judge has accepted a change of plea that released a man who has spent nearly four decades in prison for the deaths of two people in a Phoenix suburb.
Bill Macumber was convicted in the 1962 shooting deaths of Joyce Sterrenberg and Tim McKillop in the open desert of north Scottsdale, but he has maintained his innocence. [View Macumber's DOC profile]
Macumber pleaded no contest to two counts of second-degree murder Wednesday in Maricopa County Superior Court under an agreement with prosecutors and received a sentence of time served and walked free for the first time in 37 years.
The crime was unsolved until a Maricopa Sheriff's clerk told deputies Macumber confessed to the crime.
During his trial, county prosecutors said Macumber's palm print and bullet casings from his gun were found at the crime scene.
Macumber, who had no prior criminal record and was the father of three young boys, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
The Justice Project has been advocating for his release in recent years, saying no DNA evidence links Macumber to the crimes and that another man had confessed to the killings. However, one of the victim's cousins said he is upset over the release. [Read Justice Project profile on the case]
"How do you take a blow in your stomach? How do you describe that? We know he's guilty. We know in our hearts that man killed those two young people," said cousin John McCluskey.
The state's clemency board had recommended Gov. Jan Brewer reduce Macumber's life sentence in 2009, but she denied that. When Macumber's case came before the board again earlier this year, it did not recommend commutation.
Macumber is 77 years old.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Monday, September 15 2014 10:49 PM EDT2014-09-16 02:49:04 GMT
It's no surprise teachers have busy lives and between work and family life they're stretched pretty thin but one car shop in Aiken is looking to help them out with auto repairs. "They're the educatorsMore >>
It's no surprise teachers have busy lives and between work and family life they're stretched pretty thin but one car shop in Aiken is looking to help them out with auto repairs.More >>
Monday, September 15 2014 10:45 PM EDT2014-09-16 02:45:17 GMT
Sonny Pittman announced he's out of the running for the temporary District Seven Commissioner Seat in Richmond County. "I just don't want to participate in this very unsavory method the Augusta CommissionersMore >>
Sonny Pittman announced he's out of the running for the temporary District Seven Commissioner Seat in Richmond County.More >>
Monday, September 15 2014 10:25 PM EDT2014-09-16 02:25:51 GMT
Reaction has been swift and fierce."It's just been an unfortunate situation," said Mayor Deke Copenhaver.Now, former commissioner Donnie Smith is in hot water with another agency for allegedly falsifyingMore >>
Officials from the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council said Smith is now the target of their own investigation, the outcome of which could potentially strip Smith of his certification to work for a Georgia law enforcement agency.More >>
Monday, September 15 2014 10:21 PM EDT2014-09-16 02:21:01 GMT
The Augusta Fire Department's Hazmat team has been called to reports of a chemical odor in Jefferson County.Crews responded around 8 p.m, according to spokeswoman Dee Griffin.Reports indicate a residentMore >>
The Augusta Fire Department's Hazmat team has been called to reports of a chemical odor in Jefferson County.More >>