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DA Hestrin announces dismissal of murder charge against Kimberly Long for a 2003 murder in Corona and no retrial will be held

RIVERSIDE – DA Mike Hestrin today, April 22, 2021, announced that his office will be dismissing the murder charge against Kimberly Long after determining that the DA’s Office can no longer prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury at a retrial.

 

Our office carefully looked at and considered all aspects of the case and determined, in part due to the lengthy passage of time since the murder and the deaths of key witnesses, that we can no longer prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury. Therefore, our office will not retry the case and dismissed the murder charge against Kimberly Long at a trial readiness conference today, April 22, 2021, at the Hall of Justice in Riverside.

 

It is the ethical duty and responsibility of the DA’s Office to only file and try cases which we believe we can prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

Kimberly Louise Long, DOB: 10-16-75, was charged in November 2003 in case RIF113354 with the murder a month earlier of her then-boyfriend, Oswaldo “Ozzy” Conde, DOB: 2-20-72. On Oct. 6, 2003, Long called 911 and told police something happened to Conde inside her home on Springbrook Street in Corona. Police responded and found Conde dead in Long’s home. A coroner’s autopsy found Conde’s cause of death to be blunt force trauma.

 

In early 2005, a trial was held and resulted in a hung jury, leading the judge to declare a mistrial. Later that same year, the DA’s Office re-tried the murder case and on Dec. 27, 2005, a second jury convicted Long of second-degree murder and she was sentenced in February 2006 to 15 years to life in prison.

 

In January 2014, Long’s attorneys filed a “habeas corpus” petition to determine whether her imprisonment following the conviction was lawful. The judge in both trials, the Honorable Patrick Magers, rejected a claim of actual innocence but ultimately granted “habeas corpus relief” in 2016, finding that Long was deprived of effective assistance of counsel - thus setting the case for a retrial.

 

The DA’s Office appealed the decision of Judge Magers and, in May 2018, the California Court of Appeal reversed the judge’s ruling, thereby affirming the conviction and sentence. In November 2020, the California Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal, thereby once again allowing the case to proceed to retrial.

 

After the state Supreme Court decision, our office invited Long’s attorneys to make a presentation. Her attorneys are with the California Innocence Project, which we have routinely worked closely with since establishing our Conviction Review Committee several years ago. The presentation focused not on proving actual innocence, but instead pointed out areas of reasonable doubt.

 

Our office closely reviewed and considered the presentation by defense attorneys and DA Hestrin also had the DA’s Bureau of Investigation Cold Case Unit conduct a fresh and thorough review of the case. Only after all these efforts were exhausted did we make the decision not to pursue a retrial.  

 

 

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Author: John Hall
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