An appeals court has overturned a Cleveland man’s murder conviction, saying his jury wasn’t properly instructed on the “castle doctrine” that allows people to use deadly force in their home.
The court said Ronald Lewis should be given a new trial on charges of killing a former girlfriend during a 2008 fight in his home, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer
The court said the original trial judge failed to tell jurors in the case that Lewis could legally have used deadly force under Ohio law, regardless of whether Rodgers was a guest or an intruder.
A jury last year found Lewis guilty of stabbing Rodgers, despite his claim of self defense in what he said was a fight she initiated by attacking him with a knife.
The Plain Dealer reported that court officials said Lewis initially lied to police about the fight. In reaching its decision, the jury also found Lewis guilty of assault and tampering with evidence in the case.
Prosecutors argued that Lewis had an obligation to back off in the fight because his girlfriend was not really an intruder in his home. But the appeals court ruling said the castle doctrine law doesn’t distinguish between an intruder or invited guest.
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