Judge says woman imprisoned for murder 17 years ago is innocent

Apr 23, 2015 8:28 PM by Debbie Cobb

LOS ANGELES - A woman convicted of murder and imprisoned for 17 years walked out of a Torrance courthouse today after a judge called her life sentence "a failure of the criminal justice system" and ordered her release.

Susan Mellen, 59, was embraced by her three children. City News Service says Mellen and her children filed a federal civil rights suit on Wednesday.

Mellen was convicted in 1998 of killing a homeless man in Lawndale.

Mellen's lawsuit contends that an LAPD detective and her supervisor conspired to deprive Mellen of her civil rights. It says the detective knew the woman who claimed to have heard Mellen confess wasn't credible.

According to a Los Angeles Times report, Mellen credited her religious faith with helping her as she served a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

At one point during Mellen's news conference, someone handed her a cellphone, which she said was her first. She said adjusting to her life of freedom would be overwhelming.


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