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Judge Says Prosecutor Withheld Evidence

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) - The Jackson County prosecutor wants an investigation after a judge alleged that an assistant prosecutor withheld evidence in a case that resulted in a 22-year sentence. The case centers on Matthew Davis, who had been serving time after pleading guilty to abandoning the body of his girlfriend, Amber McGathey, in a car after she died of a drug overdose in July 2004.

Davis also was charged with possession of a controlled substance.

But Jackson County Judge Edith L. Messina threw out the guilty plea last week, saying the suppressed evidence did not make the plea "voluntary or intelligent."

Judge Messina blasted Assistant County Prosecutor Dan Miller in the opinion, writing that Miller "deliberately and fraudulently misled the court and defense counsel" so that "a continuing fraud was perpetrated upon the trial and motion courts," the Associated Press reported.

Davis claimed to have tried to contact an attorney about the body: Messina said that claim was part of the withheld evidence.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jim Kanatzar said he was obligated to send a copy of the judge's order to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the Missouri Bar and asked for an investigation. Kanatzar said the Disciplinary Counsel will determine whether Miller committed any misconduct and that his office will still pursue criminal charges against Davis.

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