DNA springs island man from jail

A South Whidbey man is free from King County jail after DNA tests raised doubts about whether he tried to hire fellow inmates to kill his wife.

A judge ordered 51-year-old Anthony Billera to be released Jan. 20 after King County prosecutors dismissed a charge of solicitation to commit murder in the first degree.

Last summer, Billera was serving a year-long sentence in King County jail for the fifth conviction for violating a court order barring him from contacting his wife and son. He allegedly asked two different inmates to kill his wife, offering one man $6,000 and a motorcycle, according to court documents.

Forensic tests on a letter contradicted the inmate’s story. An inmate claimed Billera gave him a note with a message taped together from letters cut from a magazine. It read: IF YOU CAN KILL HER FOR ME I CAN GET YOU 6 AND THE BIKE I WANT HER TO BURN.Inside the letter was a cut-out of a magazine photo of a wildfire.

But tests showed that Billera’s DNA wasn’t anywhere on the note, while the other inmate’s DNA was found on sticky side of the tape.

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