Supreme Court orders new trial for 2 convicted in ’08 murder
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Two men convicted of a 2008 murder should receive a new trial because prosecutors didn’t turn over certain evidence to their defense attorneys until a week after their trial began, New Jersey’s Supreme Court ordered Monday.
The case involved the dying man’s last words and his wife who may have plotted to have him killed.
Monday’s ruling faulted prosecutors for not turning over more than a dozen reports that contained facts related to testimony already given by investigators in the case. While the Supreme Court said those actions weren’t malicious, they denied a fair trial to defendants William Brown and Nigil Dawson.
Brown and Dawson were convicted in 2014 of murder and other offenses in the killing of Tracy Crews in his Mercer County home. They were each sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Crews’ wife, Sheena Robinson-Crews, initially told investigators her husband had implicated Brown and Dawson by their nicknames before he died, according to Monday’s ruling. Later, she allegedly changed her account to state that her husband had only implicated Brown.
Inmates at a prison in Pennsylvania where Robinson-Crews was incarcerated on drug charges later told investigators she told them she’d conspired to kill her husband, though the trial judge said he found their credibility lacking.
Still, the Supreme Court’s ruling Monday concluded that the withheld evidence could have allowed the defendants’ attorneys to raise the possibility of third-party guilt on the part of Robinson-Crews in their opening statements to the jury.