Nicaraguan court overturns Nashville man's murder sentence

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) -- A Nicaraguan appeals court has overturned the conviction of a Nashville man sentenced to 30 years in prison for killing his Nicaraguan girlfriend.

Eric Volz was immediately freed from a prison 25 miles east of Managua.

Nicaraguan officials said they would appeal the decision.

The appeals court upheld the 30-year sentence of his alleged accomplice, Julio Martin Chamorro. Both were sentenced in February for the death of Doris Ivania Jimenez, who was found raped and strangled in November 2006 in a clothing store she owned.

The case attracted widespread attention in the U.S. news media. Volz's friends and family set up the "Friends of Eric Volz" Web site, which argues his case and sells bracelets to help support his defense fund.

Volz has proclaimed his innocence from the beginning, saying he was two hours away when the crime occurred. At that time, Volz had lived for two years in Nicaragua, where he founded a bilingual magazine. He also worked as a real estate broker.

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