MIAMI -

A Florida appeals court has overturned the murder conviction for a former FBI agent linked to mobster Whitey Bulger.

The Third District Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday that former agent John Connolly was improperly convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role in the 1982 killing of a gambling executive.

A hit man testified that he killed World Jai-Alai President John Callahan after Connolly tipped Bulger and others that the executive would implicate them in another death.

In the court's new ruling, a panel of judges determined in a 2-1 vote that Connolly's second-degree murder conviction was barred by the statute of limitations. His attorneys argued that prosecutors improperly used a firearms allegation to enhance the charge.

Connolly has long denied a role in Callahan's killing.

Prosecutors have said they will appeal.