Friday, August 8, 2003

New trial ordered in murder case

The Associated Press

TOLEDO - A federal judge ordered a new trial for a man sentenced to death for the murder of an 18-year-old woman in 1996, saying the jury was improperly allowed to hear testimony from the getaway driver.

Jamie Madrigal, 28, was convicted of aggravated murder in the slaying of Misty Fisher of suburban Oregon, who was shot during a robbery at the fast-food restaurant where she worked. Witnesses said Fisher was shot because she did not open a store safe fast enough.

Chris Cathcart, who admitted being the getaway driver, refused to testify during Madrigal's trial, but prosecutors were allowed to read statements from him implicating Madrigal in the robbery. Cathcart is serving a 10- to-28-year sentence after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

U.S. District Judge James Gwin ruled the jury should not have heard Cathcart's statements, and ordered a new trial.

The Ohio Supreme Court in 2000 threw out Cathcart's statements as evidence but upheld Madrigal's conviction.

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