Appeals court upholds conviction in death of Leah Freeman

COOS BAY, Ore. - An appeals court affirmed the 2011 manslaughter verdict against a man convicted of killing his girlfriend in 2000.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction of Nicholas McGuffin (at right) conviction without issuing a formal opinion, according to R. Paul Frasier, Coos County district attorney.

McGuffin is serving a 10-year sentence in the death of Leah Freeman. He is slated for release

Freeman disappeared in June 2000 when she was 15 years old.

Initially reported as a possible runaway and later as a missing person, the discovery of her body off the side of a rural road in August 2000 shifted the case to homicide.

Another 10 years would pass before a grand jury would indict Nick McGuffin on a charge of murder. McGuffin was Freeman's boyfriend at the time of her disappearance.

In July 2011, a jury convicted McGuffin of manslaughter. apparently convinced that McGuffin did not intend to kill Freeman.

He has maintained his innocence throughout.

McGuffin sought a new trial two months later on a variety of grounds. His attorneys argued information about his drug use and sexual activity should not have been admitted. They also alleged juror misconduct and questioned why McGuffin was indicted on murder charges if prosecutors doubted he intended to kill Freeman.

That appeal was denied.