Ex-death row inmate in SC walks out a free man

JEFFREY COLLINS MEG KINNARD Associated Press Published:

GREENWOOD, S.C. (AP) -- A mentally disabled man who spent nearly 30 years on South Carolina's death row for the stabbing death of a woman has walked out of a courthouse a free man.

Edward Lee Elmore pleaded guilty Friday to murder in the stabbing death of Dorothy Edwards, a widow he worked for as a handyman. An attorney for Elmore says he is innocent, but he pleaded guilty because he wants to be released from prison.

About an hour after the hearing, Elmore walked out of the Greenwood County courthouse as his family clapped and cheered. They planned to take the 53-year-old former inmate to a buffet for lunch so he could eat whatever he wanted.

A prosecutor decided to offer the deal instead of retrying the decades-old case.