TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday threw out a first-degree premeditated murder conviction after finding that a Grant County judge erred in refusing to give jurors the requested instructions of self-defense and involuntary manslaughter.
The court sent the case of Michael Alan Keyes back to Grant County District Court. In its ruling, the Supreme Court said whether Keyes used self-defense boils down to a “credibility question.”
“Without the jury making this credibility determination, we cannot be sure that the court’s failure to instruct the jury on self-defense did not affect the outcome of this trial,” according to the ruling.
Keyes was serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole for 50 years after his conviction in the 2016 death of Jimmy Martin.
Keyes testified at his trial that he believed it was necessary to kill Martin in order to defend himself. He told jurors he feared for his life when Martin came at him with a knife threatening to kill him.
His testimony, if believed, could demonstrate that a reasonable person would have perceived the use of deadly force in self-defense as necessary, the court said.
Also on Friday, the Supreme Court reversed convictions in an aggravated criminal sodomy case out of Riley County.
Ziad K. Khalil-Alsalaami argued in his appeal that his two convictions must be set aside because his attorney was ineffective. The argument centered on his attorney’s stipulation that a confession Khalil-Alsalaami made during a police interrogation was voluntary, even though several factors weighed in favor of suppressing it.
The Supreme Court held that there was a reasonable probability that had it not been for the attorney’s stipulation to the confession Khalil-Alsalaami may have been acquitted. It remanded the case to district court.
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