MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that a former state trooper who spent 15 years in prison for the murder of his wife before being released by a judge two years ago will face a new trial in her death.
Al.com reports that George Martin, now 60, was convicted of capital murder in 2000 for the death of his wife Hammoleketh Martin five years earlier.
The woman’s badly burned body was found inside her vehicle in Mobile in October 1995. An investigator concluded she was burned alive.
A jury found that Martin killed his wife in order to collect proceeds from her life insurance policy and voted to sentence him to life in prison. However the trial judge overrode the jury and sentenced Martin to death.
In 2014 an appeals court overturned Martin’s death sentence, and in 2015 the judge granted Martin bail, allowing him to live and work in Mobile county while wearing an ankle monitor.
In 2016 a Mobile circuit judge dismissed the capital murder indictment against Martin. According to court records, information about a star witness misidentifying Martin in a photo lineup was buried by prosecutors and not shared with the defense.
The judge’s order dismissing the indictment against Martin was filed “with prejudice,” meaning Martin could not be tried for the specific charge again. He was released from wearing the ankle monitor.
But the Alabama Attorney General’s office appealed the decision and the case was sent to the state’s supreme court, which issued its ruling Friday. It ordered a new trial be set for Martin and said a new indictment was not necessary.
Martin has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the state over his conviction. The case is pending.
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