MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia man serving a long prison sentence for sex crimes has been set free after a judge said a county prosecutor erred in instructions to a grand jury.

Marshall County Circuit Judge David Hummel last week dismissed the case against Michael Daniel Bowman with prejudice, meaning the state cannot retry it pending a review, news outlets reported. The ruling means Bowman was set free and will not be registered as a sex offender.

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Bowman, 41, had served 3.5 years of a 28- to 70-year sentence. He was convicted in July 2017 of sexual abuse by a custodian, sexual assault, and three counts of first-degree sexual abuse.

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Marshall County Prosecutor Joe Canestraro, who was elected in 2020, said a previous prosecutor never advised the grand jury about the elements of the charges.

Bowman is relieved, pleased to be with family, and “continues to maintain his complete innocence,” said his attorney, Mark Panepinto.

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