Angel Bumpass was sentenced to life in prison after she was linked to the murder of a man who was tied with duct tape and robbed when she was 13 years old. On August 8, the first-degree murder and aggravated robbery convictions of the 28-year-old were dismissed by a Tennessee judge, per The Associated Press.
Bumpass was handed the life sentence in 2019 when she was 24 years old. The man whose 2009 murder she was convicted of, Franklin Bonner, was a medical examiner. He is said to have suffocated after he was tied with duct tape that covered his feet, arms, nose and mouth.
Investigations into Bonner’s murder had initially gone cold, but prosecutors in 2018 opened the case again and determined the fingerprints retrieved from the duct tape matched that of Bumpass’. The 28-year-old, however, maintained her innocence.
During the trial, the defense claimed witness testimony was inaccurate and evidence wasn’t strong enough. Another individual linked to the murder was also acquitted. Bumpass was eventually released in 2019 after a judge gave the green light for a new trial.
The dismissal of Bumpass’ conviction also comes after she received support from people who argued it was unfair to put her behind bars. In a previous interview with the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Bumpass’ attorney, William Massey, said polygraph test results were part of discussions that were held in connection with the case. The results were said to be presented with the hopes of proving Bumpass was innocent – though the court does not allow that.
The results of a second polygraph test were also provided by Massey after it was requested by District Attorney Coty Wamp, per The Associated Press. Bumpass is said to have passed both tests.
“We know that there is at least one person responsible for this criminal offense who has not yet been located or identified as a suspect,” Wamp said. “It is my opinion that we must refocus our efforts on identifying the individual who did this.”
Massey also said the dismissal of Bumpass’ conviction was unexpected. “We were getting ready to go to trial,” the attorney said.