A man who was tried four times over seven years for an alleged sexual assault was freed Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from prosecutors.
Richard Moeck, 58, was released from prison and taken to a Madison bus station.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in May that Moeck's fourth trial in 1997 amounted to double jeopardy - a legal doctrine that says a person cannot be tried twice for the same offense.
The state Department of Justice appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and warned if Moeck were released, he would flee. But the court refused to hear additional arguments and ordered authorities to release him.
Prosecutors contended Moeck lured a 23-year-old man into his apartment in August 1997 and forced him to have sex at knifepoint. He was convicted and sentenced to 161 years in prison in a second trial after the first ended in a hung jury in January 1998.