The conviction of a Lompoc man who served 26 years in prison for the fatal shooting of a motel owner was overturned this week in the same Santa Maria courtroom in which he was sentenced more than three decades ago. The prosecution of Joel Alcox, 52, had been riddled with incompetence from the start, said his attorney Juliana Drous, including a false confession by Alcox after seven hours of police interrogation while he was high on LSD, a former defense attorney stunningly ineffectual in his duties, and alleged misconduct by prosecutors at the time. The true killer, Drous has charged, remains at large in London. Alcox was paroled four years ago while his case was on appeal, and his charges were officially dismissed during a short hearing last Wednesday. Afterward, family and friends gathered in a huddle of hugs and tears. Alcox is now married and lives in San Bernardino, where he works as a tire delivery person. Read next week’s Independent for more on this story.