Judge sets aside guilty pleas in '79 rape, murder - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Judge sets aside guilty pleas in '79 rape, murder

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - A judge has set aside the guilty pleas of 2 men in a decades-old rape and murder of a Hattiesburg woman after DNA evidence proved they didn't commit the crime.

Forrest County Circuit Judge Robert Helfrich ruled Thursday on a petition filed by the Innocence Project on behalf of Bobby Ray Dixon and Phillip Bivens.

Helfrich took no action on a petition for Larry Ruffin. He said he only received Ruffin's petition on Wednesday and wanted to review it.

The men spent decades behind bars. Ruffin died in prison in 2002.

The three were serving life sentences for the 1979 rape and murder of Eva Gail Patterson.

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