Arizona prison inmate to have sentence commuted

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX (AP) -- An Arizona inmate who has served 44 years of a life sentence for a murder he committed when he was 17 will be released soon.

Under terms of an agreement offered by Maricopa County prosecutors, 62-year-old Ray Chatman's original conviction will be vacated and he'll be eligible for release in exchange for pleading guilty to one count of second-degree murder.

A county Superior Court judge approved the plan Friday as part of a resolution to reduce Chatman's sentence to time served.

Chatman was convicted of first-degree murder and armed robbery that occurred at a Phoenix convenience store in 1970.

A co-defendant in the case was paroled in 1987 after then-Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt commuted his sentence.

As far as prosecutors are able to determine, Chatman never applied for commutation.

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