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Court denies new trial in killing of UMass student

April 8, 2014

BOSTON (AP) — The highest court in Massachusetts has refused to grant a new trial to a man convicted of killing a UMass-Amherst student in 2004.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Judicial Court rejected an appeal by Bryan Johnston in the killing of David Sullivan. Johnston was convicted of first-degree murder for walking into Sullivan’s off-campus apartment and shooting him six times with an assault rifle.

Sullivan and Johnston had been friends in high school and kept in touch after heading to different colleges.

During his trial, Johnston did not deny killing Sullivan, but said he was insane at the time and not criminally responsible.

In his appeal, Johnston challenged the instructions the judge gave to jurors on the question of criminal responsibility. The high court found that the judge’s instructions were fair and balanced.

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