Man convicted in 1984 killing became a free man on Thursday - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Man convicted in 1984 killing became a free man on Thursday

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David Weinberg (Department of Corrections) David Weinberg (Department of Corrections)

A man convicted of murdering a woman in the 1980s became a free man on Thursday.

David Weinberg was sentenced to 60 years in prison after being convicted in the 1984 killing of 19-year-old Joyce Stochmal. Her body was found in Zoar River in Seymour.

Weinberg has always maintained his innocence and on Thursday, with the help of the Innocence Project, he was set free.

There have been a lot of advances in technology since the 1980s and that's what really changed; that, and a confession made at the time of his conviction, which only surfaced years ago, helped him become a free man.

However, the family of the victim does not agree with what happened on Thursday.

"I thought he would have given up and accepted his fate but the conniving murderous liar that he is, is still squirming to find a way out," said Paul Stochmal, Joyce's brother.

"While demanding perfection from the state, the Innocence Project has not shown any proof of David Weinberg's innocence, because they can't," said the victim's sister Marianne Heffernan.

The crime happened in August of 1984.

Stochmal was walking to work when she was abducted and killed.

She was stabbed more than a dozen times, and Weinberg was identified as the suspect after his girlfriend led police to the spot where Stochmal's belongings were burned. Weinberg showed her that spot a day before.

That, along with other evidence, like blood on a murder weapon and hairs belonging to Stochmal that were found in Weinberg's trunk, got him a life sentence.

His sentence was later changed to 60 years.

It does need to be noted that Weinberg has always said he was innocent.

He failed several attempts at appeals, but when Connecticut’s Innocence Project took this case, they found a confession from a woman with known psychological problems.

That confession was never heard before and the state admits they didn't know about that and didn't know where it came from.

That was a game-changer, which lead to other evidence being re-tested that ultimately reversed, or at least casts doubt on, what a jury heard back in the 1980s.

So that leads to Weinberg being a free man.

Darcy McGraw, from the Connecticut Innocence Project, said "If a conviction lacks integrity, it must be set aside. And that's what we're dealing with here."

This is a modified sentence. Weinberg is still guilty of murder. He has not been exonerated and can't sue the state, but in exchange for not contesting that, he has his freedom. 

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