The conditions of Huffington's bail require him to live in the Patrick Allison House in Baltimore, which serves men recovering from homelessness, addiction, and who have recently been released from prison. He must also report to Parole and Probation officers at least once a week, according to Dwyer's bond order, "obey all laws" and have no contact with either of the victims' families.

Dwyer ordered the new trial on the grounds that the forensic evidence used to convict him twice had been discredited after a Department of Justice review in the 1990s called the testimony of many FBI crime analysts into question, testimony which had won many convictions in criminal trials around the country.

Huffington was convicted in Caroline County in 1981 and re-convicted in Frederick in 1983 in a jury trial.

Hair evidence used to place Huffington in the camper was discredited after DNA testing ordered last year by Huffington's lawyers proved the hair wasn't Huffington's.

Dwyer's May opinion stated hair finding in itself was sufficient to vacate the convictions and grant a new trial under the state's 2009 Writ of Actual Innocence Statute; however, the judge also noted one of the ballistics analysis present at the trials has likewise since been discredited. The opinion also points out prosecutors at the second trial had expressed concern about the veracity of Kanaras' testimony.

'Twilight zone'

"It's like one of those Twilight Zone [episodes]," Cassilly told Watson as they left the courtroom.

Watson, 57, attended Thursday's hearing with his brother Alan, age 58, and sister Laura, 44, and other family and friends. He had hoped to speak, but the request was denied after Dwyer sustained Malone's objection that it was not a post-conviction hearing and thus not the correct venue for a victim impact statement.

The family was not notified beforehand of the post conviction hearing in April, Watson said earlier this week. He also said his sister's son was adopted by their parents after her death. Now 35 and living in another state, he has two children of his own, his sister's grandchildren, Watson said.

Watson was overcome with emotion when speaking about his sister, who had just turned 21 when she was murdered.

"Diana was a loving sister, a loving daughter and mother," he said following the hearing.

He noted many people rediscover their closeness with their families as they age out of their late teens and early 20s, and Ms. Becker was just discovering those bonds with her family.

"I think it was coming full circle for her," he said.