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Five years ago, a jury found 17-year-old David Valken-Leduc guilty of murder for his part in the 1996 fatal shooting of a Motel 6 night clerk during a botched robbery.

He was sentenced to 5 years to life in prison in the slaying of 30-year-old John Whicker at the Woods Cross motel.

But on Tuesday, Valken-Leduc's conviction was vacated. He entered an Alford plea to a lesser charge of second-degree felony manslaughter and received three years of probation, said Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings.

The Alford plea means Valken-Leduc maintains his innocence while conceding prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him.

The case was overturned after appellate attorney Elizabeth Hunt asserted that Valken-Leduc's trial attorney, Aric Cramer, put on an ineffective defense.

Rawlings agreed with Hunt's argument that Cramer never hired an investigator, failed to interview key defense witnesses and failed to preserve legal issues during appeals. A second issue: the state's key witness was granted an invalid immunity agreement that the jury did not know about.

"This kid didn't get a fair trial," Rawlings said Tuesday.

Rawlings, who did not prosecute the original case, said Whicker's family agreed to the plea agreement.

Valken-Leduc, who was released from prison Tuesday, was given credit for serving more than 5 years behind bars.

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