SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A federal magistrate has ruled that a California prisoner serving life without parole for a triple murder should be freed because his lawyer provided in incompetent representation at his trial.
The Los Angeles Times reports U.S. Magistrate Michael Seng ruled this week that 72-year-old George Souliotes should be released because his lawyer failed to adequately defend him in a "fundamentally unfair" trial.
The Greek immigrant has been in prison for 16 years for the killings of a mother and two children who died when a fire erupted in a Modesto house he owned in 1997.
Souliotes' lawyers filed a motion Friday asking the magistrate to release him immediately, citing the prisoner's poor health.
But Deputy Attorney General Kathleen McKenna says she disagrees with the magistrate's findings and plans to object.