Woman convicted of aiding attempted murder released

Woman convicted of aiding attempted murder released »Play Video

CALDWELL, Idaho (KBOI) - A woman sent to prison back in 2000 for a brutal attack on a Wash. state woman in Canyon County was released from prison Friday.

Sarah Pearce, is one of four people who was sent to prison for the attack on Linda LeBrane -- charged with aiding attempted murder. LeBrane's throat was slashed, but managed to survive.

On Friday, a judge re-sentenced Pearce to five years of probation and will be released sometime Friday. She spent a total of 11 years and 215 days behind bars.

The judge says there was discrepancies in witness testimony and issues with evidence and said it was basically a compromise. She's still technically convicted of the crime, however.

The Idaho Innocence Project and Pearce's family have been working since 2007 to convince the court she was falsely convicted.

"We think it was a case of mistaken identity pure and simple, with tragic consequences," Greg Hampikian, director of the Idaho Innocence Project told KBOI 2News last month.

Here's the full statement from Bryan Taylor, Canyon County prosecutor:

"In 2000, Linda LeBrane was brutally beaten by several persons, including Sarah Pearce, and left for dead.  One of Mrs. LeBrane's attackers pled and agreed to testify on behalf of the State, and the three other perpetrators were found guilty after trial by jury for their respective roles in this horrific crime, and sentenced under law to lengthy terms of incarceration in prison. 

Demonstrating the same courage and will to live that allowed her to survive the attack,  Mrs. LeBrane was able to put the pieces of her life back together - a life, according to a jury, that Ken Wurdemann, John Wurdemann, Jeremy Sanchez, and Sarah Pearce, then only a teenager, had senselessly attempted to violently shatter. 

Horrifically, these persons were complete strangers to Mrs. LeBrane, who was simply passing through our County.  While the impact of such a heinous crime on its victim, and on our community's sense of safety and security, cannot be overstated, it should also be noted that it is Mrs. LeBrane's strength and dignity, and our community's sense of justice, that made today's hearing - and Ms. Pearce's opportunity to herself now gather a life from the rubble left of that terrible day - possible.     

In my view, the criminal justice system of a given community should reflect the values and aspirations its members share.  In Canyon County, we value the protection and empowerment of persons victimized by crime, and we aspire to do right -- even by those who have wronged us.

Today, informed by the courage of Linda LeBrane and the strength of our community, we balance our very human sense of outrage at those who do violence to the people and places we love, and have sworn to protect, with our commitment to reason and compassion. Today we validate Mrs. LeBrane's suffering, and celebrate both her perseverance and our community's faith in justice. 

Today's hearing closes the book on the question of Sarah Pearce's guilt - which has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt and to the satisfaction of a jury of her peers.  More importantly, it reaffirms that the only truly innocent person in this sad story of senseless violence is Linda LeBrane."