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DNA Prompts Florida High Court To Toss Death Row Conviction

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Paul Hildwin  (Source: Florida Dept. Of Corrections)

Paul Hildwin (Source: Florida Dept. Of Corrections)

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — The conviction of a Florida death row inmate has been tossed by the state’s Supreme Court after new DNA evidence raised doubt as to whether he murdered a woman nearly 30 years ago.

A divided court on Thursday overturned both the conviction and death sentence imposed on Paul C. Hildwin.

Hildwin had been sentenced to die for killing 42-year-old Vronzettie Cox, whose nude body was found stuffed in the trunk of a car parked in some Hernando County woods in September 1985. She had been strangled with a T-shirt.

Prosecutors in 1986 contended DNA found at the crime scene matched blood characteristics of Hildwin. But recent tests show the DNA belonged to Cox’s boyfriend.

A majority of the court said this “completely discredits” the scientific evidence used by prosecutors at trial.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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