"Judge overturns conviction in slaying of two cousins," is the rerport by Holly Herman for the Reading Eagle.
A federal judge has overturned the first-degree murder conviction of Shawnfatee M. Bridges in the 1996 slayings of two Reading cousins because prosecutors did not provide the defense with police records that could have been used to impeach a key witness during the trial.
U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody on Tuesday also overturned the death sentence because the defense didn't call an expert psychiatric witness during the sentencing hearing.
Brody ordered prosecutors to release Bridges, 36, from the State Correctional Institute at Graterford by Aug. 21 unless he is retried.
In a 114-page opinion, Brody concluded that former District Attorney Mark C. Baldwin did not provide the defense with police records for key prosecution witness George Robles. She said the information linking Robles to four other shootings could have been used to impeach Robles' testimony.
Robles, now 38, of Reading testified that the slayings were in retaliation for the Banks cousins breaking into Bridges' home.
"There is no doubt that the police records relating to Robles are impeaching, and this is favorable to Bridges," Brody wrote. "They present evidence that Robles was involved in some way in at least four shootings in an 18-month period."
The AP filign is, "Pa. man's death sentence nixed," via Philly.com.
A federal judge has thrown out the death penalty given to an Pennsylvania man who's spent 15 years on death row.
District Judge Anita Brody also overturned Shawnfatee Bridges' murder conviction because prosecutors did not provide the defense with police records that could have impeached a key witness
District Attorney John Adams says he'll appeal the ruling. He is also preparing to retry the case.
Related posts are in the prosecutorial misconduct category index.