Fresh Start For East Tennessee Man Once On Death Row

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- It's a fresh start for a Chattanooga man who spent more than 15 years on death row.

A jury acquitted 55-year-old Michael Lee McCormick in a retrial for the fatal shooting of a Chattanooga pharmacist in 1985.

McCormick, who had been out of prison since 2002, did not speak to reporters after being cleared. As the verdict was announced, he shuddered slightly and wiped away tears. McCormick still faces a misdemeanor drug charge from an arrest while he was awaiting his new trial.

Jurors agreed with defense attorneys who said McCormick was lying and just being boastful when police secretly recorded his confession.

McCormick had been convicted in 1987 in the slaying of an acquaintance, 23-year-old Donna Jean Nichols.

A public defender said it's unlikely that anyone else will be charged in the 22-year-old case.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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