KLAS-TV Las VegasFred Steese spent more than 20 years in a Nevada prison before a judge finally cleared him of killing a Las Vegas entertainer. He still can’t catch a break, though.
Right after he was released from Nevada prison, Florida took him into custody for failing to report to his parole officer 25 years ago, KLAS-TV Las Vegas reported last week.
Steese’s public defender Ryan Norwood told Business Insider the parole violation was for a “completely unrelated” 1989 robbery conviction.
Steese served three years for the robbery and was let out on parole. Then he failed to report to his parole officer in March 1992.
A few months after Steese failed to report to his parole officer, he was arrested for murder in Nevada.
“Florida has known exactly where he was ever since then,” Norwood pointed out.
At the end of May, there will be a hearing to determine whether Steese must serve an additional three years for failing to report to his Florida parole officer.
Jane Tillman of the Florida Parole Commission had this dry explanation for Steese’s Kafkaesque situation:
“He was convicted in Florida,” she told KLAS-TV in March. “He was released and placed in supervision to follow as part of his sentence. He absconded, he never showed up for his supervision and therefore he’s being brought back to the state of Florida to serve 1,189 days with the Florida Department of Corrections.”
Steese had a difficult enough time finally convincing a judge he didn’t stab “Circus Circus” performer Gerald Soulos in 1992. Steese admitted to stabbing Soulos 100 times as part of a plea deal because he falsely believed it was the only way he could appeal his case, the Las Vegas Sun has reported. He got life in prison.
In March, Judge Elissa Cadish finally bought his explanation that he felt pressured to confess. Records show Steese wasn’t even in Nevada at the time of the murder. He filled out a welfare application and two job applications showing he was in Idaho.
“Given everything additional that we now know, I am finding that it is more likely than not no reasonable juror would’ve found him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” Cadish reportedly said.
To resolve the caes quickly, Steese pleaded “no contest” to the murder in exchange for the time he’d already served, KLAS-TV reported. But now he’s stuck in Florida prison — at least until the end of this month if not longer.
His lawyer, Norwood, pointed out to the TV station that his client has already served more than 20 years for something he didn’t do.
“Why should he have to go across the country to spend another three years in Florida for something else, something that would’ve been resolved a long time ago if it weren’t for the fact of a wrongful conviction?” Norwood said.
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