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Dr. Noel Chua signs release papers after his 2007 felony murder conviction was set aside.Dr. Noel Chua signs release papers after his 2007 felony murder conviction was set aside. (R. Robin McDonald/ALM)

After serving 11 years of a life sentence for murder, Dr. Noel Chua was a free man Monday night after the Brunswick Circuit district attorney asked a judge to set aside Chua’s 2007 felony murder conviction and release him.

The deal that vacated Chua’s murder conviction for the 2005 drug death of James Carter, the physician’s boarder and office intern, appears to have been prompted by an Aug. 8 civil court hearing where Chua’s attorneys introduced evidence that former Camden County Commissioner Steve Berry—also an attorney and best-selling author—advised prosecutors in a secret memo to unconstitutionally “avoid blacks” when picking the jury for the 2007 trial, said Chua’s attorney, Stephen Reba.

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