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Oshkosh man convicted in 1989 murder is appealing

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) — An Oshkosh man serving time for a 1989 murder is appealing his conviction again.

Mark Price, 55, was convicted for the shooting of Michael Fitzgibbon, whose body was shoved under the ice on Lake Butte des Morts.

Attorney Byron Lichstein with the Wisconsin Innocence Project at the University of Wisconsin has filed a motion for post-conviction relief, according to the Oshkosh Northwestern Media. The motion claims that disgraced former Winnebago County District Attorney Joseph Paulus knowingly elicited perjured testimony from three key witnesses in order to bolster the state’s case.

The motion also claims Paulus withheld or destroyed evidence that would have been helpful to the defense, and that there were inconsistencies with the testimony of a witness.

Price acknowledged he was at the scene of the slaying, but has denied he killed Fitzgibbon.

“Mark Price does not come to this court claiming to be an angel. He made serious misjudgments, including some that led to his involvement in this case,” Lichstein wrote in the motion. “Mr. Price has paid dearly for those misjudgments. He has spent nearly 25 years in prison for this conviction.”

A hearing on the appeal is set for Sept. 25.

In a brief responding to Lichstein’s motion, Winnebago County Deputy District Attorney Scott Ceman said the jury’s verdict was not impacted by the inconsistencies in testimony. Ceman also argued that the motions being raised rely on evidence that is more than 10 years old and questioned why those issues were not raised previously.

Paulus, who was district attorney from 1988 to 2002, was convicted in 2004 of taking bribes and sentenced to 58 months in federal prison. Price’s first appeal of his conviction of the murder came the same year.

Separately, a judge in 2007 vacated Price’s 1995 conviction on a threat charge stemming from his attempt while in prison to use proceeds from a drug deal to arrange to have Paulus killed. Defense attorneys convinced the judge that prosecutors withheld audiotaped evidence suggesting Price’s innocence in that case.

Lichstein was also involved in Price’s defense in that case.

Information from: Oshkosh Northwestern Media, http://www.thenorthwestern.com

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