HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP)- A judge is ordering a new trial for a man convicted of murdering a Garrett County sheriff's deputy in 1979.
Defense attorney Michael Lytle said Thursday the ruling offers 65-year-old Roberto Rezek of Fairmont, W.Va., another chance to argue he had already surrendered to Deputy David Livengood when his co-defendant shot the officer.
Livengood was investigating a store burglary near Oakland. The man who admittedly shot him, Richard Tichnell, died in prison in 2006.
Washington County Circuit Judge Daniel Moylan ruled Friday that Rezek's jury received improper instructions.
The trial judge told them that the court's instructions on legal matters were advisory only. That was the standard jury instruction in Maryland at the time. But the Court of Appeals ruled in 1980 that juries cannot interpret the law.