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Court overturns conviction in killing of home intruder

February 17, 2019

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia appeals court has overturned the conviction of a Springfield man who fatally shot an intruder in his home.

The court ruled 7-4 last week to affirm a divided appeals panel’s September ruling that the judge in Thomas Lienau’s trial erred in refusing to instruct the jury on self-defense, as Lienau’s attorney had requested.

Lienau was initially charged with murder in the 2015 death of 25-year-old Mohammed Najim, whose brother was renting a bedroom in Lienau’s home. A jury convicted Lienau of involuntary manslaughter.

According to court records, Najim had been told repeatedly that he was not welcome in the house and was shot after breaking through a dead-bolted front door.