After spending six years in custody, which included part a twenty-five year prison term after being convicted in his first trial in 2009, a man was acquitted and set free after his original conviction was overturned and he was retried on charges of manslaughter and burglary with an assault or battery.
In 2007, the accused, who was just 19 at the time of the crime, was charged with reaching into the alleged victim’s car window during a fight and striking him. The alleged victim lost control of his car and crashed. When police found the alleged victim, he had a rod impaled through his skull.
Prosecutors believed that the accused struck the alleged victim with that rod, causing the heinous injury.
In his first trial he was convicted by a jury and sentenced to 25 years in state prison.
An appellate court reviewed the conviction and overturned it due to improperly admitted evidence during the first trial.
In the second trial, jurors listened to the evidence, which did not state with any degree of certainty that the accused actually plunged the rod into the skull of the alleged victim. The accused took the stand and admitted to reaching into the alleged victim’s car but claimed that it was to grab a pistol the alleged victim was waving at him.
In the end, the jurors found that the evidence presented was insufficient to convict and they voted to acquit him on both counts.
The accused walked out of the courthouse a free man after six years.
Eric Matheny is a Miami criminal defense attorney and Broward criminal defense attorney representing clients charged with criminal offenses in both counties.