Man imprisoned in Ariz. murders pleads no contest - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Man imprisoned for decades released, attorney says he was framed

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William (Bill) Macumber William (Bill) Macumber
Macumber set free Macumber set free
PHOENIX -

He's been behind bars for 37 years, a convicted killer who was turned over to investigators by his own wife.

In just hours from now -- Bill Macumber is expected to walk out of prison, set free by a judge.

But there is more to this story.

Macumber and his team of lawyers say he was framed and should never have spent a day behind bars.

However, the victims' families and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office disagree. Still they admit there isn't enough evidence to hold him.

Macumber's attorney says an innocent man is walking free after 37 years behind bars. The county attorney says he's guilty of murder and is walking free on a technicality.

Wednesday afternoon, deputies took off Bill Macumber's handcuffs and shackles -- one more step towards freedom.

Macumber pleaded no-contest to two counts of second degree murder for the killings of Joyce Sterrenberg and Tim McKillop in 1962. He was sentenced to time served. Once processed, he'll be free to go.

"It's hard to accept that he's walking free," says Judy Michel, the victim's sister. She says this is an injustice and that Macumber was convicted twice by different juries.

"To enjoy the holidays and to be free to do things with his family to do things, that two of us have been robbed of."

Macumber asked for a new trial and County Attorney Bill Montgomery says they couldn't go through with it because key evidence is now missing and key witnesses have since passed.

"If we had the evidence, if we had the shells and the guns, we would have gone forward and we would have secured convictions with a jury verdict of guilty again," says Montgomery.

But Macumber's attorney says he's innocent and was framed by his wife, who just happened to work for the sheriff's office back then. He claims she planted evidence to make Macumber look guilty.

"Justice is served today. It took way too long to get it but Bill Macumber is going to walk out a free man," says Lee Stein, Macumber's attorney.

Macumber has some pretty serious medical problems, including emphysema.

His attorney says he plans on spending time with family and going fishing.

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