Warren McClinton is out of jail for the first time in more than six years, days after prosecutors agreed to drop lingering sexual assault charges against him.
McClinton, who was jailed for years without being convicted of a crime, was released either late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, according to his lawyer Ozzie Fumo and a Clark County Detention Center online log.
On Monday, moments before picking a jury for McClinton’s second trial on several sexual assault charges, prosecutors cut a deal with him on one count of second-degree kidnapping. They would agree to a maximum of 30 months of probation.
McClinton, 48, agreed to the terms under what’s known as the Alford decision, which means he would not admit guilt, but acknowledged that prosecutors had enough evidence to prove the charge.
The Review-Journal tried unsuccessfully to reach McClinton on Wednesday through his mother who had traveled from Chicago after the plea.
Just last week, prosecutors had extended a different offer for McClinton: plead guilty to attempted sexual assault. But that meant he would have to register as a sex offender and be monitored for the rest of his life. He refused.
McClinton, along with his attorneys Fumo and Tom Pitaro, have steadfastly maintained McClinton’s innocence.
After his plea, he was expected to be released the same day, but court records indicated a bench warrant was issued out of Las Vegas Justice Court in October 2010, while McClinton was in jail. He was kept behind bars an extra day while his lawyers worked with judges to free him.
As recently as June, McClinton was acquitted of one count of sexual assault. Jurors deadlocked on several other charges.
In 2009 a judge threw out an indictment on several counts, including sexual assault, because prosecutors failed to introduce certain evidence to a grand jury. What they didn’t reveal: DNA from two other men was found on bedsheets in the North Las Vegas home, where prosecutors said the crime happened.
The 14-year-old alleged victim was the only person who initially testified before the grand jury. When prosecutors went to the same grand jury a second time, they called her, her mother and a detective to testify. McClinton also took the stand.
The panel, which also heard the DNA evidence, deliberated for 30 minutes and refused to indict him.
But prosecutors quickly presented new charges to a judge, who ruled there was enough evidence for a trial.
Lawyers had expected the second trial to last two weeks.
In the deal accepted Monday, prosecutors agreed to drop three counts of sexual assault with a minor younger than 16, three counts of open or gross lewdness, and one count of battery with intent to commit sexual assault in connection with allegations dating to August 2008. If convicted on those charges, McClinton could have faced life in prison.
He is expected to live with family in Chicago while he awaits a formal sentencing in January.
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