Plea deal frees death row inmate

(WRGX) A man who spent years on Alabama’s death row for the murder of an elderly woman is free after a new plea deal.

A jury in Ozark convicted Emanuel Gissendanner in 2003 for beating 77-year old Margaret Snellgrove two years earlier.

However, the judge who presided over that trial later ruled Gissendanner’s attorneys failed to adequately represent him.

“We completely disagree with Judge Quattlebaum’s order. However, the manner in which that order was written handcuffs the state of Alabama,” Dale County District Attorney Kirke Adams said.

Believing it would be difficult to secure another conviction, prosecutors in Adams’ office

made a deal.

They allowed Gissendanner, now 43, to plead guilty to one count of murder and another judge sentenced him to time he has already served behind bars, 18 years.

“While Mr. Gissendanner is not saying he’s guilty, he is saying it’s in his best interest to take the plea,” said defense attorney Becca Wahlquest.

She believes another man, now deceased, killed Ms.Snellgrove.

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