Man convicted of murder may face second murder trial
OKLAHOMA CITY – A convicted killer loses his fight to avoid a second murder trial; the murder suspect failed to have the case dismissed.
Earlier this year the murder conviction against Billy Thompson was thrown out following allegations of misconduct from two prosecutors in Oklahoma County.
Back in Aug. 2010, a late-night stabbing left one man dead and another accused of murder.
This year a jury convicted Billy Thompson of the killing.
Judge Donald Deason overturned that verdict after two prosecutors in the case allegedly withheld critical evidence.
“It is very tough on the family,” Tilda Scott-Harjo said.
Scott-Harjo is the grandmother of Manuel Sanchez.
Sanchez lost his life in the stabbing more than two years ago.
His family hopes to see Thompson convicted a second time for the crime.
“The only thing we want is justice for Manuel,” Scott-Harjo said.
The legal mess stems from a witness in this neighborhood telling prosecutors the stabbing took place in Thompson’s driveway, not in the street as others claimed.
Yet prosecutors violated their ethical oath by failing to inform the defense of that evidence.
A critical omission because Thompson claimed he acted in self-defense.
“Had they not cheated with that piece of evidence, Mr. Thompson would have been acquired,” attorney David McKenzie said.
McKenzie argues a second trial would violate Thompson’s right to avoid what’s known as double jeopardy.
The attorney for the Sanchez family disagrees.
“We believe Mr. Thompson has the right to a fair trial but we also want this family to have some closure,” attorney David Slane said.
“Several states have ruled if there’s prosecutorial misconduct jeopardy has attached and the person may not be tried for the same offense,” McKenzie said.
District Attorney David Prater fired the two assistants accused of the misconduct earlier this year.
As for Thompson’s trial, there’s no word when that will happen.
First the court of criminal appeals has to take up the issue.