Montana man exonerated after 18 years in prison for murder
MISSOULA, Mont. - A judge has dismissed all charges against a Trout Creek man who spent 18 years in prison for the killing of his best friend in 1997.
Richard Raugust said during a news conference on Thursday that he's "finally back as a free member of society."
Raugust was convicted of deliberate homicide and sentenced to life in prison for the shooting death of Joseph Tash in a camp trailer near Trout Creek.
District Judge James Wheelis overturned the conviction last year after finding that prosecutors withheld evidence that might have led to a different verdict.
On Wednesday, the Sanders County attorney filed a motion to drop the charges against Raugust.
Montana Innocence Project Legal Director Larry Mansch says Wheelis signed an order that prevents prosecutors from re-charging Raugust.