By Associated Press - Thursday, December 24, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey’s Supreme Court will hear the appeal next month of a Trenton man who is serving a 60-year sentence for murdering another man at a dice game.

Patrick McFarlane was convicted in 2013 for shooting Richard Mason in the back during a robbery.

McFarlane argued that some statements by witnesses should have been barred and that the judge improperly instructed the jury on legal points.

He also claimed his sentence was excessive and pointed to comments made by the judge in an unrelated murder case that he “always” gave convicted defendants a minimum of 60 years.

An appeals court rejected McFarlane’s arguments in a ruling last April, noting that a factor in the sentencing was his past criminal record and the heinous nature of the crime.

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