CLINTON, La. (AP) — A Louisiana man had his first-degree murder conviction voided by a judge on Tuesday after his lawyer argued that the jury’s split verdict was unconstitutional.
On Tuesday, Sharpe’s lawyer Tommy Damico argued that Sharpe’s conviction should be voided and a new trial held because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in April that banned non-unanimous jury decisions.
A district judge agreed with Damico and set a new trial for Sharpe for December, news outlets reported.
“He clearly was entitled to a new trial,” Damico said.
Split verdicts were voted unconstitutional by Louisiana residents in 2018. But because the killings in Sharpe’s case were before 2019 and since prosecutors declined the death penalty, the jury was allowed to return a non-unanimous decision.
Defranceschi was the second person gunned down in a string of shootings authorities said they believe Sharpe committed.
The four shootings, which all happened in a rural area north of Baton Rouge within a 7-mile (11-kilometer) radius of Sharpe’s home, left residents anxious for weeks during the summer and fall of 2017.
Defranceschi was fatally shot in October 2017 while trimming weeds in front of his house on Boy Scouts camp property in Clinton, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) northeast of Baton Rouge.
Sharpe’s accused of second-degree murder in the September 2017 death of former Baton Rouge Park and Recreation Commissioner Carroll Breeden Sr., who was also killed in his front yard.
Other charges against Sharpe remain pending. He was charged with second-degree murder in the July 2017 shooting of 62-year-old Tommy Bass, who was killed in the carport of his home. He was also charged with attempted first-degree murder in the September 2017 shooting of 47-year-old Buck Hornsby, who was wounded while exercising on his property.
By: Associated Press