Wash. farm town dreads high-profile murder retrial

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EPHRATA, Wash. (AP) — Prosecutors in a rural Washington state county are preparing to retry a young man who was convicted as a teenager of murdering a playmate in 2003.

Evan Savoie has been serving a 26-year sentence following his conviction on a first-degree murder charge. Now 21, Savoie continues to proclaim his innocence in the murder of 13-year-old Craig Sorger, who had been beaten and stabbed.

The case divided the small farm community town of Ephrata, Wash. and drew national media attention.

The Washington state Court of Appeals recently threw out the conviction on grounds that Savoie’s right to a public trial was violated when the trial judge closed the courtroom to hear arguments on a motion.

The case cost more than $1 million to try the first time.