DA: Lisa Roberts released due to ineffective counsel

Lisa Roberts was released from prison after it was ruled her lawyer provided ineffective counsel at her 2002 trial (KOIN 6 News, file)
Lisa Roberts was released from prison after it was ruled her lawyer provided ineffective counsel at her 2002 trial (KOIN 6 News, file)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — The Multnomah County District Attorney decided not to retry a woman whose guilt came into question recently.

Lisa Marie Roberts served nearly all of her prison term for strangling and killing her girlfriend, Jerri Lee Williams in 2002. Roberts pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in December 2002.

In April 2014, Judge Malcolm Marsh concluded Roberts’ lawyers were ineffective, thus violating her right to effective counsel.

Her attorney did not get an independent evaluation of critical cellphone evidence and advised Roberts to plead guilty, Marsh said.

DNA evidence also raised doubts Roberts was the killer.

In deciding not to retry Roberts, on May 28 Multnomah County DA Rod Underhill wrote the Oregon Department of Justice conducted a review of the case and “…concluded ‘there has not been one claim or combination of claims that have led the Oregon Department of Justice to reasonably conclude that anyone but the Petitioner (Lisa Roberts) murdered Jerri Williams on May 25, 2002.”

But Underhill also said the DA’s office contacted Williams’family and took into account the fact Roberts had served nearly all of her time.

“Consequently, after careful consideration, we are not electing to retry Lisa Roberts.”

Roberts was released from prison shortly after.

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