Key Witness In Conviction Says Man Should Be Set Free

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(Memphis) One of the key witnesses in the trial of a convicted cop killer is now claiming the defendant should be set free.

Dr. O.C. Smith was chief medical examiner when Timothy McKinney first went to trial 16 years ago.

McKinney was granted a chance at a new trial.

Twice those trials have ended in a hung jury.

When Officer Don Williams was gunned down, Smith determined his cause of death, but 16 years and 3 trials later, when Smith was again subpoenaed as a witness, he says he only received 9 sheets of paper as evidence, nothing else.

“They destroyed everything. There's not one piece of physical evidence in the medical examiner’s office,” said Smith.

Smith says he doesn’t have a bone to pick with the District Attorney or the new medical examiner.

In 2004, he was forced to resign for staging a barbed wire bomb attack on himself.

The high-profile case ended in a mistrial in federal court.

Smith says his speaking out now isn’t about him, just Timothy McKinney and justice.

“Right now, if they have destroyed the medical examiner's evidence that's a game over,” said Smith.

We asked District Attorney Amy Weirich how she felt about Smith publically stating McKinney deserved freedom from death row because the evidence is gone, “I can't comment on the evidence and the strength of it or that kind of thing. We’ll evaluate what we have and I’ll make a decision based on what we have."

She didn’t know about Smith’s push to free McKinney and hasn’t decided if there will be a fourth trial.

The costs and years are adding up.

“We look at the strength of our case. We look at where we are. With a case like this that has some age on it. This is many years old that obviously plays into account and is one of the factors that we consider,” said Weirich.

District attorney employee, Vince Higgins, is related to officer Don Williams.

As a family spokesperson, he says they just want the trials to end, “We want peace."

Higgins says they do want McKinney to receive a 4th trial.