Client Found Not Guilty of First Degree Murder

Another Sartorius Kirsch client has been found not guilty by a jury. Last week a jury found our client not guilty of murder in the first degree; the jury, instead, returned a verdict of involuntary manslaughter. Founding partner T.J. Kirsch tried the case in Laclede County.

Our client was charged in the tragic death of his friend and roommate in 2016. Initially, the State of Missouri charged him with felony murder (an archaic and convoluted principle from the common law which we will write about later; we’re editorializing here). Our client pled not guilty to the initial charge and was prepared to stand trial. Shortly before his trial, however, the prosecution increased the charge to murder in the first degree and armed criminal action. He again pled not guilty and went to trial.

Under Missouri law at the time of this incident, and the current law, the only available punishments for murder in the first degree are death, or life in prison without the possibility of probation or parole. This was not a capital case, so our client faced LWOP.

Jurors in the jury box

The jury deliberated for several hours after two and a half days of trial and returned a verdict of involuntary manslaughter in the first degree, not of deliberate murder as the state sought to prove. The jury again returned verdicts in the sentencing phase after hours of additional testimony and deliberation recommending seven years in prison for manslaughter, and six years for an associated charge of committing a felony with a weapon.

Take Caution in Press Coverage of Criminal Charges

The press has taken a lot of heat lately, mainly due to politics. We do not mean to pile on and critique the journalism profession, but this case is an exemplary, cautionary tale of media coverage in criminal cases. This case was reported in the media, it was profiled both in print and on television. We would usually link to such stories, but we could not find a single report free of serious and substantive errors. Not one of those media outlets reached out to us for comment.

Consider the possibility you may not know all of the facts before you jump to conclusions regarding people accused of crimes based on solitary articles or brief news clips. And, always be mindful of the Gell-Mann amnesia effect.

Sartorius Kirsch Tries Cases to Juries

As we are fond of saying, we are a trial firm. We litigate our clients’ claims and try cases to juries. The state has nearly unlimited power and resources; if you or a loved one is facing criminal charges and want your rights fully defended, including your rights to a fair trial by a jury of peers, contact Sartorius Kirsch.

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