The Ingham County Prosecutor has dismissed all charges against Claude McCollum, the man once convicted of murdering Lansing Community College Professor Carolyn Kronenberg.
In a press conference Wednesday, Stuart Dunnings, III announced a judge had signed an order to dismiss all charges. He explained a continuing investigation into McCollum's involvement in the murder was taking too long in a forensic lab, and he believed it was unnecessary to wait for a conclusion he thinks is obvious. "At this time, I believe Mr. McCollum is innocent," he said.
For a man who felt so failed by the legal system, the freedom that comes with that statement is hard to put into words.
"I'm overwhelmed with joy," McCollum says.
McCollum spent two years in prison after being given a life sentence last year for the murder. He was transferred to the Ingham County Jail earlier this month and was released from there October 16, when an appeals court overturned the conviction on the joint request of the prosecutor and his defense attorney.
The prosecutor says there is new evidence and also some questions about the use of old evidence. He confirms there is surveillance tape that may show McCollum was elsewhere during the murder. There is also a 2005 police report where one detective wrote McCollum couldn't have committed the crime.
Dunnings wouldn't place blame or say conclusively if mistakes were made. He's asked the Attorney General to investigate.
McCollum, for his part, would like to hear "I'm sorry" from the prosecutor. He and his attorney are anxious for the results of the AG's investigation.
McCollum says he gets approached on the street by people who've seen him on TV and express their support. He says college is his next goal--and yes, he's thinking the school where he was once accused of murder may be a good fit.
"I may just go back there," he says with a smile. "I may just go back."
The prosecutor says the investigation into the murder of Carolyn Kronenberg is ongoing and active. He says there is another suspect. He will not comment on reports that Matthew Macon, suspected in a series of murders in Lansing, confessed to killing Kronenberg.