A Minnesota man who served nearly 25 years in prison for the death of his wife was released from jail Friday after authorities vacated his conviction and allowed him to plead guilty to manslaughter after citing problems with the testimony of an expert witness, a doctor whose reports in other cases they are also under scrutiny.
Thomas Rhodes, now 63, was convicted in 1998 of first- and second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Jane Rhodes, 36, who in 1996 fell from a boat and drowned during a late-night ride with her husband at Green Lake, in Spicer.
The man was found guilty of manslaughter based on testimony from doctor Michael McGee, who said Rhodes grabbed his wife by the neck, threw her overboard and ran her overboard several times with the boat, the state attorney general’s office said in a statement on Friday.
Rhodes told investigators his wife fell from the boat and disappeared while he searched intently for her in the dark.
The state attorney general’s office’s Guilty Plea Review Unit (CRU) reviewed the case. As part of the investigation, a forensic pathologist determined that Janes Rhodes’ death was not inconsistent with an accidental fall, prosecutors said.
“Due to the benefit of a thorough review of all evidence and circumstances, the CRU determined that the medical evidence used to convict Mr. Rhodes was flawed,” the statement said.
“I look forward to hugging my sons Eric and Jason, being a good grandfather to my six wonderful grandchildren and having time to make new memories with my family and friends,” Rhodes told the Mankato Free Press on Friday.
Messages left to phones in the name of Michael McGee were not answered at the moment. Efforts to contact him through social media were also unsuccessful.
Source: El Nuevo Herald