State high court tosses murder conviction

LANSING (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has overturned the first-degree murder conviction of a man linked to a Flint gang because the prosecution didn’t tell the jury about FBI payments to a key witness.

A Genesee County circuit court jury convicted Feronda Smith in 2011 in the 2005 shooting of drug dealer Larry Pass at Pass’s home.

The Flint Journal says the now-40-year-old Smith was among about 30 people arrested in 2007 in a federal and local crackdown on the Pierson Hood gang.

Smith got the mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

The court recently issued a split decision overturning Smith’s conviction. It said jurors should have heard that prosecution witness Mark Yancy received payment for helping the FBI investigate the gang and Pass’s killing.


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