The Washington Post

Court to hear appeal in Justin Michael Wolfe’s overturned conviction

RICHMOND, Va. — A federal appeals court is set to hear the case of a Prince William County man whose murder-for-hire conviction was overturned.

The state is appealing a judge’s decision to vacate the conviction of Justin Michael Wolfe, who was sentenced to death for the 2001 slaying of his marijuana supplier, Daniel Petrole. A judge ruled last year that prosecutors suppressed evidence and knowingly used false testimony from the shooter, Owen Barber, who later recanted.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments Thursday.

The case exposed a drug distribution ring in the affluent northern Virginia suburbs. According to trial testimony, Wolfe was making $10,000 to $15,000 a month selling premium marijuana he bought from Petrole. Barber owed Petrole about $60,000 at the time of the slaying.


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