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Barnesville resident cleared in 1992 strangulation death of Connecticut man

A Barnesville, Minn., man charged with the 1992 strangulation of a Connecticut man found dead in his home has been acquitted.

A three-judge panel on Wednesday cleared 50-year-old Donald Krauth in the death of 58-year-old Charles Cromwell. Police reopened their investigation in 2009 after finding Krauth's DNA on Cromwell's shirt, and arrested the former New Milford man last year.

Defense attorneys say the DNA likely was on Cromwell's shirt because he'd hired Krauth to clean out his basement shortly before the killing. They also said the investigation was sloppy and witnesses were unreliable.

Krauth's attorney, William Dow III, said they are pleased he's been exonerated, but that it was unfortunate for an innocent man to be jailed for nine months waiting to have his name cleared.

In an August 2009 interview with The Forum, Krauth, an 11-year resident of Barnesville, said he didn't kill Cromwell, and had been interviewed at least six times about the Connecticut man's death.

"It isn't something I did," Krauth, a construction worker, told The Forum. "I'm not like that. I'm a dad. I'm a grandpa. You know, I work every day."

He was arrested in Fargo last March, seven months after he gave a court-ordered DNA sample to investigators for testing.