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Paula Hall Found Innocent in Heyn Murder

FORSYTH, Mo. -- A judge Tuesday found a woman not guilty of murder in a 2003 case from Christian County. Paula Hall had been tried previously and found guilty in the death of Freda Heyn of Oldfield, Missouri. But her conviction was thrown out.
FORSYTH, Mo. -- A judge Tuesday found a woman not guilty of murder in a 2003 case from Christian County.  Paula Hall had been tried previously and found guilty in the death of Freda Heyn of Oldfield, Missouri.  But her conviction was thrown out.  Last week, Judge Michael Cordonnier heard the case again in a bench trial.

In his ruling, issued Tuesday, Cordonnier took issue with some of the witnesses who claimed Hall was involved in Heyn's murder.  He also noted a lack of physical evidence tying Hall to Heyn's death and said pathology evidence and testimony did not lead him to conclude "beyond a reasonable doubt" that Heyn died from being struck in the head, as some witnesses testified.

Cordonnier wrote; "Based on the Findings of Fact, the Court cannot conclude, beyond a reasonable doubt, that all necessary elements of the offense charged have been proven.  Therefore, the Court finds Defendant, Paula Hall, NOT GUILTY of Murder in the Second Degree.    (read the full ruling above.)

Freda Heyn went missing from her home in Oldfield in November 2003.  Five months later, her skeletal remains were found in the Mark Twain National Forest near Chadwick. 

Paula Hall, her brother Billy Hall, and David Epperson were all charged in Heyn's death. Hall was found guilty in 2009 and given a 20-year prison sentence.

Then in June 2011, Hall's attorney claimed prosecutors withheld information from the defense before Hall's trial. The conviction was ultimately thrown out by the state appellate court in Springfield.  Prosecutors retried the case last week before Cordonnier.

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