A Maryland man will be waiting another week before he gets a verdict in a retrial of a murder case from 1975. The man was convicted for the alleged murder of an off-duty police officer during an attempt at armed robbery. He was found guilty of felony murder of a police officer by a jury in 1976 but has been seeking a retrial on the basis that the jury received improper instructions. He finally was granted a retrial in 2012.
It is alleged that the police officer had caught the man by surprise while the man was robbing a grocery store. The Maryland police officer reportedly chased the man into an alleyway where both men allegedly shot at each other. The men were found to have bullet wounds and the police officer died of his injuries. The accused shooter was found injured in a home near the scene of the event.
However, the accused man has maintained his innocence since his original trial. His attorney states that he was questioned while either in pain or while medicated, and that the police made the promise of dropping charges against his girlfriend for his cooperation. Additionally, the defense claims that there is no physical evidence which links the defendant to the crime.
This case is being reopened due to the fact that the jury may have been given the wrong instructions by the judge. This is a not uncommon occurrence and can be used to reopen cases that have some component of doubt. In a case as old as this one, much of the evidence from the original trial along with many of the witnesses has been lost. This means that the prosecutor may find it extremely challenging to develop a case and it may work out to the benefit of the defendant. The defense attorney may try to emphasize the lack of physical evidence that could tie the defendant to the crime.
Source: CBS Baltimore , "Md. Man Will Wait Another Week For Retrial Verdict In 1975 Cop Murder", JENNIFER ALLARD, June 11, 2013