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Stoney Thompson released from prison after 16 years, defense attorney says could've been much sooner

Stoney Thompson took a plea deal Friday after being charged for murdering 3 men in Toledo in 2006; his attorney says withheld evidence could've made a difference.

TOLEDO, Ohio — In July, the 6th District Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for a man convicted in a triple murder in Toledo over 15 years ago. 

On Friday, that man, Stoney Thompson, agreed to a plea deal - a deal which will soon make him a free man.

Thompson's Defense Attorney Michael Stahl spent his entire legal career representing Thompson, who in 2006 was sentenced to 3 life sentences after being convicted of the murders of 3 men. 

Stahl took on the case after his mentor, Debbie Rump, passed away in 2018.

"People can look at this and can see it. And can look at cases where people are saying they were wrongfully convicted and determine it and there have been a number of cases that have come through," Stahl said.

Stahl requested Thompson's public records after an Ohio Supreme Court decision in 2016, City of Columbus vs. Caster, made records public after a conviction.

He said a lot of materials were not disclosed during the trial. Something that he believes would have had profound implications for Thompson's case.

One of the pieces of evidence Stahl said was not fully disclosed was a woman's testimony which was contrary to one of the witnesses.

In a video, the woman is seen describing to a detective another possible suspect altogether who was not Thompson.

Stahl even brought in a shoe for size comparison to the shoe found at the scene, which was shown to be around 12 inches. Stahl says Thompson told him his shoe size was only around 8 to 9 inches. 

He said the evidence was actively requested during earlier trials but would eventually get lost.

"There's no excuse for not having the evidence. I understand it's been almost 15 years, but it shouldn't be missing," said Stahl.

Over a decade and a half later, Stahl said they could've motioned for a full exoneration for Thomson but that could've taken years. Instead, Stahl said since Thompson's one goal was to get out, he acted in the best interest of his client.

"He's entering a plea while maintaining his innocence. It truly is a plea to get out of prison," said Stahl.

With the case now closed, Thompson is currently on probation, but Stahl said there's still much more that needs to be done in the justice system.  

"That's probably something for the people, legislatures, even Congress to deal with how we deal with this - especially the Ohio General Assembly," said Stahl.

Stahl said he wants to work to address the flaws in the system and plans to put the public records for the case on his website.

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