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Published: Friday, 1/22/2010

Man in prison 16 years for assault gets new trial

Nearly 16 years after being sentenced to prison for abduction and assault in 1993, Michael Bigelow returned to Lucas County Common Pleas Court this week after a federal judge overturned his conviction.

Bigelow, 55, was serving a prison sentence of 20 to 40 years in the Warren Correctional Institution near Lebanon, Ohio. He was convicted after a jury trial for kidnapping and assaulting a Toledo woman who was cut by her attacker with a razor blade.

In 2007, a U.S. District Court judge overturned the conviction, saying Bigelow did not receive a fair trial because his attorney did not make reasonable efforts to investigate plausible, supporting alibi witnesses. An appeal of the decision since has been upheld by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Judge Gary Cook on Wednesday appointed attorney Merle Dech to the case and set a Feb. 16 trial date. Bigelow is being held in the Lucas County jail in lieu of $200,000 bond.

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