A man who was convicted for murder in 2007 is getting a second chance in court.
A federal judge ruled last year Jemar Matthews should be retried or released from prison due to prosecutorial misconduct.
Twenty-two-year-old Mercy Williams was gunned down in 2006. Twelve years later, Jemar Matthews is on trial a second time for her murder.
That’s because a federal judge ruled last year his first conviction should be tossed out because his rights were violated during the first trial.
Judge Gloria Navarro pointed to weaknesses in the state’s case and prosecutorial misconduct. For example: Asking an all white jury, in reference to Matthews and his co-defendant who are both African-American, “How innocent do they look to you?”
For the current trial, only one juror is African-American.
Opening statements began Wednesday.
“He wasn’t at the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Agnes Lexis, chief deputy district attorney. “Evidence will show he was one of those armed men who snuck up and ambushed these people, shot 39 times.”
“You’ll learn that there is no fingerprint evidence, no DNA evidence, no forensic evidence of that kind linking Mr. Matthews to the murder in any way,” said Rich Tanasi, defense attorney.
Two cousins of Williams testified they were visiting a friend outside his north Las Vegas home when a group showed up and and bullets started flying at them.
One of cousins was also shot that night.
A graphic photo showing Williams lying there after she was shot was shown several times which was extremely tough for her family to see.
The trial continues Thursday.