LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Nevada Supreme Court is giving a 28-year-old Las Vegas man a chance for a new trial after ruling that his second-degree murder conviction for shooting his girlfriend in the head in 2007 was tainted by improper jury instructions.
A three-judge panel on Thursday sent prison inmate Brian Rose’s case back to Clark County District Court Judge Michael Villani.
The Las Vegas Sun reported the justices found the trial jury was improperly allowed to consider assault with a deadly weapon and second-degree murder charges together.
The justices say the so-called merger doctrine can apply in first-degree murder cases in Nevada, but not second-degree murder.
Rose was sentenced to 20 to 50 years for killing girlfriend Jackie Watkins while she used a telephone at a friend’s home.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.