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Appellate court overturns conviction from 2012 Halloween murder

FILE -- Jamal Epps is seen in Kern County court in Bakersfield, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX photo, file)

The 2012 Halloween murder of Terry Ellis is being investigated once again after an appellate court overturned the murder conviction for Jamal Epps.

The Kern County Public Defender's Office is saying the Bakersfield Police Department suppressed witness evidence in the case that could've potentially named a different suspect.

Epps told a jury he did not kill Ellis.

Police Sgt. Ryan Kroeker was on the team that investigated the case and says these types of investigations can be difficult.

The victim's niece, Karnesha Sawyers, says Epps reached out to her from jail to convince her of his innocence.

"The family just wants whoever did it to come forward, write a letter, just say, 'Hey, I killed your uncle.' I would accept that," says Sawyers.

She says she believes Epps' plea and hopes whoever killed her uncle will come forward.

Kroeker says if this does head to trial again, the Police Department will cooperate fully and provide all the evidence that is asked of it.

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