Defense attorneys have asked a judge to dismiss charges against a man whose murder conviction was overturned because of prosecutorial misconduct.
Jurors convicted Billy Thompson in March of first-degree murder in the Aug. 17, 2010, stabbing death of Manuel Leon Sanchez, 21.
The panel also convicted Thompson of assault and battery for stabbing Maxwell M. McIntyre, 19, in the chest.
Oklahoma County District Judge Donald L. Deason tossed out the conviction and set a new trial date after prosecutors in the case were found to have withheld critical evidence from Thompson's attorneys.
Assistant district attorneys Pam Kimbrough and Stephanie Miller were fired by their boss, District Attorney David Prater, after Prater learned they withheld a witness statement that could have been favorable to Thompson's case.
Thompson's new trial was set to begin Monday, but was postponed after public defenders assigned to Thompson's case filed a motion late last month asking the judge to dismiss the charges.
“Subjecting Mr. Thompson to another trial violates fundamental fairness,” assistant public defender Shea Smith wrote in a brief supporting Thompson's change of plea from not guilty to former jeopardy. “The government should get one chance to prove its case. Here, the government blew its chance to prove its case because the government knowingly cheated.”
A hearing on the motion is set for Nov. 14.
Prater said Tuesday his office will “vigorously defend” against the motion.
“We don't think the law supports their proposition,” he said. “We don't think the actions of the previous two lawyers bar us from retrying this case.”
McIntyre testified during the trial that he and Sanchez left the house after an altercation and were walking up the street when Thompson came up behind them and stabbed them.
Kimbrough and Miller were accused of withholding a statement made by witness Jose Padilla that was “inconsistent” with what he previously told police about where the killing took place.
Padilla told investigators after the trial the stabbings occurred in the driveway of Thompson's house, which would have supported Thompson's self-defense claim, his attorneys contend.
“We're confident if he's retried a second time he'll be convicted again,” said David Slane, the attorney representing the victim's family. “While the family is disappointed by another delay, they're still confident they can get justice for Manuel Sanchez.”