Saturday, April 20, 2002

Appeal wins teen new trial

Conviction overturned in murder case

By Marie McCain,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A 17-year-old from Pleasant Ridge who was convicted as an adult of aggravated murder for the 2000 killing of a longtime friend will get a new trial, the Ohio 1st District Court of Appeals ordered Friday.

        Judges Robert Gorman and Rupert Doan joined Judge Robert Winkler in a 25-page opinion that cited prosecutorial misconduct as one of the reasons for a unanimous decision to overturn Marcus Wilson's conviction.

        Mr. Wilson, who was 15 at the time of the offense, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years for the execution-style murder of 17-year-old Christopher Parks.

        Mr. Parks was shot Jan. 29, 2000 as he stood with Mr. Wilson and another teen on a busy street in Kennedy Heights. Witnesses said they saw Mr. Parks start to walk away when Mr. Wilson pointed a gun at his back and pulled the trigger.

        After Mr. Parks collapsed, they said, Mr. Wilson stood over him and fired additional shots into his body, including one into his head.

        Appeals judges contended that the jury trial was tainted when the prosecution referred to a witness' out-of-court statement that identified Mr. Wilson as a suspect.

        The statement was hearsay, the appeals court determined.

        “The prosecutor offered the statement for the truth,” the judges wrote.

        “Our review of the record reveals that the prosecutor not only used (the) statement to prove the truth of the matter asserted, but, in closing argument ... used the statement in an attempt to persuade the jury” that Mr. Wilson had actually been positively identified as the shooter.

        H. Fred Hoefle, Mr. Wilson's appellate attorney, said Friday that his client was delighted at the chance for a new trial and hopes to regain his freedom.

        Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen said Friday that his office is reviewing the decision and has yet to decide whether to appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.


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