Michigan court overturns murder conviction 32 years after woman disappears at Oscoda bar

Court overturns Jimmie Nelson's conviction for the disappearance of Cherita Thomas in 1980

Published On: Aug 24 2012 06:44:53 PM EDT
TAWAS CITY, Mich. -

The Michigan appeals court has overturned a second-degree murder conviction in a small county, 32 years after a woman disappeared without a trace.

The court says there wasn't enough evidence to convict Jimmie Nelson.

In a unanimous decision, the three-judge panel also barred Iosco County authorities from pursuing him again on the same charge.

Cherita Thomas was last seen in August 1980.

She is presumed dead, but her body has never been found.

Nelson was arrested in 2004, 24 years later.

He admits seeing Thomas at an Oscoda-area bar on the night she vanished but denies any role in her disappearance.

The appeals court says there's evidence that Nelson was covering his tracks at times.

But the court says it's not enough to sustain a murder conviction.