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After 20 years in prison, former death row inmate files suit against city

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For two decades, Curtis Edward McCarty played defense, spending every day defending his life from an execution date. Now the 45-year-old former death-row inmate is on offense.

In federal court, McCarty filed a lawsuit this month against Oklahoma City for violation of his constitutional rights. The suit also targets former forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist and current Police Chief Bill Citty, along with his predecessors.

"Defendants' acts described herein are shocking to the conscience of civilized society and represent a deliberate indifference to the constitutional rights of McCarty," the suit alleges.

TRIALS
McCarty was convicted twice for the 1982 murder of Pamela Kaye Willis. He was first found guilty by a jury in 1986 and sentenced to death, but the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals threw out both of the jury's verdicts based on Gilchrist's misconduct.

A second jury handed down the same decisions in 1989. The conviction stuck, but the appeals court reversed the death sentence and ordered a new sentencing trial.

In 1996, McCarty received a death sentence for a third time. Reports surfaced of problems with Gilchrist's work in 2001. Two years later, McCarty filed for post-conviction relief, which was granted by the appeals court in 2005. His case was finally thrown out last May by Oklahoma County District Judge Twyla Mason Gray, citing Gilchrist's unreliable and faulty work.

Now a free man, McCarty lives with his parents in Moore.

"(It's) day to day, trying to get by," McCarty said of life out of prison. "Trying to get things in order."

The suit contends McCarty's Fourth, Fifth and 14th Amendment rights under the Constitution were violated. City officials and Citty declined to comment. "Scott Cooper

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