Michael O’Laughlin was convicted in 2001 of nearly beating a woman to death. O’Laughlin was convicted largely on circumstantial evidence, such as living a few doors down from the victim. Also, the police found a baseball bat with his name carved into it. However, it was never proved that the baseball bat was even used in the beating.
The victim, however, could not identify her attacker and remembered nothing about the crime so could not serve as a witness. O’Laughlin was given a 35- year minimum sentence, despite no physical evidence linking him to the crime.
In 2005, the Massachusetts Appeals court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to establish guilt, and overturned O’Laughlin’s conviction. It was stated that the evidence in his case was based on speculation and inferences. Unfortunately, this decision was overturned on appeal. It wasn’t until 2009 that O’Laughlin won his appeal, and he walked out of prison in January 2010 having served almost ten years in prison.