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Thu June 11, 2009
Supreme Court reverses murder conviction
By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network
LANSING, MI – The state Supreme Court has ruled a victim's dying utterances cannot be used to prosecute a man suspected of killing him. The court says the defendant should either get a new trial, or the charges should be dropped.
The Supreme Court decision throws out the second-degree murder conviction of Richard Bryant. Police found the victim, Anthony Covington, lying on the ground at a gas station after he had been shot. He told police officers -quote-"Rick did it." He directed them to Bryant's home as the location of the shooting. Covington also told police he never saw the shooter, but recognized his voice.
Covington died a few hours later.
The state Supreme Court decided the case by a slim five-to-four majority. The ruling held that the dying statement was not admissible because the defense never had an opportunity to question the victim, and the police had failed to secure the scene of the crime.