New California murder law leads to inmate's early release

MARTINEZ - A California judge, citing a new state law, overturned a prison inmate's murder conviction and ordered him released from custody on Friday.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Adnan Khan is believed to be the first California inmate to benefit from a new law limiting murder convictions exclusively to actual killers. Previously, accomplices and others indirectly involved in a homicide could be convicted of murder.

Supporters of the law that took effect Jan. 1 say as many as 800 inmates with murder convictions might be eligible for reduced sentences.

Khan is set for release after serving 15 years in prison. He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison after being convicted of robbing a marijuana dealer who was stabbed to death by Khan's partner.

Former Gov. Jerry Brown last month reduced Khan's sentence to 15 years to life, making him eligible for an immediate parole hearing. Brown's commutation left Khan's murder conviction in place.

Judge Laurel Brady resentenced Khan on his robbery conviction to time served.

"If given the opportunity to re-enter society, I will live a life of service with the purpose of preventing and deterring crime and increasing public safety for our communities," Khan wrote in his commutation application.

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