Board Recommends Pardon For Man Convicted In Stabbing - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Board Recommends Pardon For Man Convicted In Stabbing

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A man convicted in the 1984 stabbing of an Oklahoma City woman is seeking a pardon, and the state Pardon and Parole Board is recommending that he receive it.

Harold Gene Weatherly spent nearly 15 years in prison after being convicted on two counts of assault and battery with a deadly weapon with intent to kill following the attack on 20-year-old Esther Moctezuma in south Oklahoma City. Moctezuma was stabbed more than 30 times in her home but survived.

Among those who testified in Weatherly's trial was Joyce Gilchrist, who since has been fired as an Oklahoma City police chemist. She said that mud and fibers found on Weatherly's shoes proved he had been inside Moctezuma's home.

An FBI chemist has said Gilchrist's findings were faulty in the case, and Gilchrist's testimony in other cases has come under scrutiny.

Weatherly, who has maintained his innocence, was given a 40-year prison sentence before being granted parole in 1998. But as a convicted felon, he can't vote, own a gun or apply for a job without listing the conviction.

The parole board approved Weatherly's request for a pardon and will send that recommendation to Gov. Brad Henry on Tuesday.

``I'm certain Governor Henry will weigh the arguments that were made in the pardon process before making a decision,'' said Paul Sund, Henry's spokesman.

Matt Dowling, an Oklahoma City attorney who represented Weatherly during the trial, said his client ``spent 15 years in prison as an innocent man and doesn't even want to sue the city. He just wants his record to be cleared.''

During the trial, four witnesses said they were with Weatherly on the day of the stabbing. Moctezuma initially picked another man out of a police lineup as the attacker, and later, in another photo lineup that included Weatherly's picture, did not identify Weatherly.

In a later jail lineup, she identified him as the attacker.

Dowling blames Gilchrist for Weatherly's conviction and said he never doubted that his client was innocent.

``I always knew I was right,'' said Weatherly, who now is married, has a family and works as a heating and air conditioning repairman. ``I kept telling myself my case would be proven someday.''
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