State appeals court throws out conviction in 1983 fatal stabbing

HIGHLAND PARK (AP) - The Michigan appeals court has overturned a murder conviction in a Wayne County case that took about 30 years to bring to trial.

The court says the rights of William Lyles Jr. were violated at trial last year. The court says Judge Megan Brennan didn't give the jury a standard instruction about considering evidence of Lyles' good character.

Lyles was convicted of stabbing Andrew Weathers in Highland Park in 1983 and sentenced to life in prison without parole. He wasn't charged for nearly three decades. Files and evidence were lost, but the case eventually was reopened.

The appeals court noted that evidence at trial was largely circumstantial. The court says that's why the jury instruction about Lyles' character evidence was important.

Published: Fri, Jul 25, 2014