- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - An Alabama man sentenced to serve 15 years in prison for manslaughter in a 2008 shooting death at a Mississippi bar has won a new trial from the Mississippi Court of Appeals.

James “Chuck” Newell was sentenced in 2012 in Lowndes County Circuit Court in the slaying of Adrian Boyette.

Prosecutors said Newell, of Vernon, Alabama, fatally shot Boyette after an altercation outside the Slab House, a bar on the outer limits of Lowndes County, near the Alabama state line.

Newell had been convicted of manslaughter in 2009, but the Mississippi Supreme Court overturned the verdict and sent the case back for retrial.

In his appeal, Newell argued he acted in self-defense.

In a 6-4 ruling Tuesday, the Court of Appeals found the trial judge erred in allowing forensic pathologist Dr. Stephen Hayne to testify to the position of Boyette’s body at the time of the shooting.

The court’s majority said Hayne offered no facts or evidence to support his contention that Boyette’s gunshot wound was consistent with being in a guarded position.

The dissenting judges said Hayne used various data - including photographs, autopsy body-illustration diagram and the crime scene - and his expertise to testify that Boyette’s wound was consistent with the victim putting himself in a guarded position.


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