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Canine justice

Agence France-Presse

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LOS ANGELES — The discovery of a Labrador led to the unraveling of a case against a US man jailed for 50 years for molesting his daughter, who claimed he had killed the animal to frighten her into silence.

Joshua Horner, 42, a plumber from the western state of Oregon, was convicted in April last year of sexually assaulting a minor by a jury that had failed to reach a unanimous verdict.

Horner’s daughter had testified during the trial that her father threatened to harm her animals if she told the police and that he had shot her dog Lucy in front of her to drive home his point.

The animal was found alive and living with new owners, however, by the Oregon Innocence Project, a non-profit legal organization that had agreed to review the case on Horner’s behalf.

Horner had insisted he did not harm Lucy and that finding the dog would prove he was innocent.

In a motion filed on Monday to dismiss the case, the district attorney’s office noted that Horner’s daughter had refused to talk to investigators about her trial testimony after the dog was found alive.

Horner was freed from prison.

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