September 3, 2014
MODESTO, Calif. (AP) - A former Modesto landlord has been freed from prison after spending more than 16 years behind bars before being exonerated of a triple murder and arson conviction earlier this year.
The Modesto Bee reports that 72-year-old George Souliotes was freed Wednesday afternoon.
Souliotes was convicted of arson and triple murder for a 1997 fire that killed 30-year-old Michelle Jones and her two children, 3-year-old Amanda and 6-year-old Daniel Jr.
A federal judge threw out that conviction in March, ruling that Souliotes didn't get a fair trial because of an inadequate defense. Prosecutors had admitted they could not prove the house fire was deliberately set.
Souliotes pleaded no contest Tuesday morning to three counts of involuntary manslaughter for failure to maintain a working smoke alarm.