CULPEPER, Va. (CBSDC/AP) — A Culpeper County Circuit Judge has ordered the release of a man whose life sentence for killing an elderly woman has been tossed out by a federal judge.

Media outlets report Judge Jay Swett approved an agreement that Michael Wayne Hash be freed while a special prosecutor appointed to examine his case decides whether to retry him.

Last month U.S. District Judge James C. Turk overturned Hash’s 2001 capital murder conviction, citing prosecutorial and police misconduct and an inadequate defense. Hash was one of three people charged in the 1996 death of 74-year-old Thelma Scroggins, who was beaten and shot four times in the head. Hash was 15 at the time.

One of the other accused was acquitted before Hash was convicted at the age of 19.

On Monday, Culpeper County Commonwealth’s Attorney announced he would resign.

Turk gave the special prosecutor six months to decide whether to retry Hash.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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