Frank O’Connell maintained his innocence, even when a Pasadena judge sentenced him to prison for murdering a South Pasadena man in 1985. And after 27 years, O’Connell and family members see new hope in their case to set O’Connell free in an episode of "48 Hours."
CBS will air O’Connell’s story Saturday, Nov. 24 at 10 p.m. (PST) in "48 Hours: Presumed Guilty."
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The episode documents O’Connell’s story, from a former Glendora High School football star to a young man who lost his way during the time he was accused of killing the ex-husband of a woman he was believed to have dated a short time before.
The victim was Jay French, a South Pasadena man gunned down outside of his home.
An eyewitness placed O’Connell at the scene of the crime after a photo lineup. O’Connell, confident in his innocence, placed his fate in the hands of a judge rather than go through a jury trial.
The move sent him to 25 years to life in prison.
“I didn’t deserve this, I wasn’t a thug in the community that they needed to sweep up and get off the streets,” O’Connell says in the episode.
O’Connell’s son, Nick, who was just 4 years old when his father was locked up, spent most of his life trying to prove his father’s innocence.
But after 27 years, O’Connell sees new hope when it is discovered investigators mishandled evidence that could have benefited his case.
“48 Hours” pieces together the murder case, and interviews police investigators, witnesses, and friends and family of both O’Connell and Jay French.