- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

MADISON, Neb. (AP) - A man whose murder conviction was overturned by the Nebraska Supreme Court is scheduled for a new trial beginning on May 12.

A pretrial conference is set for March 31 for De’Aris Trice, 24, to be followed by his Madison County trial in Madison.

In July the state’s high court overturned Trice’s second-degree murder conviction in the killing of 27-year-old Timothy Warren on Dec. 26, 2010, in Norfolk. He had been sentenced to 40 years to life in prison.

The high court said it found fault in an instruction to Trice’s jury.

At trial, prosecutors said people who left a Norfolk bar after it closed at 1 a.m. started a party at a Norfolk house. Warren and another man began fighting in the house, court records show, and others soon joined the fight or tried to break it up.

Trice’s brother testified that Trice later admitted to stabbing Warren in an effort to protect himself and his brother.

The jury was instructed to convict Trice of second-degree murder if it found that he had killed intentionally but without premeditation. The jury was further instructed that only if prosecutors failed to prove one of those elements could it consider whether Trice had committed manslaughter, a lesser offense.

The high court said that while the instruction regarding manslaughter was correct at the time it was given, the state Supreme Court’s decision in another case shortly thereafter made the instruction in Trice’s case faulty.

Trice’s jury should have been allowed to consider whether the killing was intentional but provoked by a sudden quarrel, and therefore constituted manslaughter, the state Supreme Court said.

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