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New trial ordered for man who spent 15 years on death row in death of 3-year-old boy

CINCINNATI (AP) — A new trial has been ordered for a man who spent more than a decade and a half on Ohio's death row in the 2006 death of the 3-year-old son of his former live-in girlfriend.

Lamont Hunter, 54, was convicted of aggravated murder, child endangering and rape in the death of Trustin Blue, who authorities said was sexually assaulted and died from blunt impact and shaking injuries to his head. Hunter said he was doing laundry in the basement when the boy fell down the stairs and landed on the concrete floor.

Prosecutors agreed to a new trial after the deputy coroner who initially ruled the boy's death a homicide changed that opinion two years ago after reviewing evidence she hadn't previously been given. She said the cause of death was undetermined and also said injuries she had attributed to sexual assault were accidentally inflicted at the hospital.

A hearing Friday on whether Hunter could be freed on bond while awaiting a new trial ended with no decision after prosecutors sought a delay in the proceedings. Prosecutors said the county coroner’s office is re-reviewing the entire case, including more than 700 pages of records from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Defense attorney Al Gerhardstein told reporters outside the courtroom that such work should have been done 16 years ago. He expressed optimism that his client would be "out on bond by the end of the month.”

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that it was revealed at the hearing that prosecutors have offered Hunter a plea deal that would apparently lead to his release with a sentence of the time he already has spent in prison.