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Decisions

Second Department Reverses Murder Conviction Because of Charge Error

07/19/2017

At Delroy Riley's trial on homicide and weapon possession charges, one of the People’s two eyewitnesses testified that shortly before the shooting, he saw a white Range Rover with three people inside it pull up outside Gary Gill’s residence, and that Gill and another man got out of the vehicle. According to this witness, Gill waved a gun, gave it to the other man, and told that man to shoot, which he did.  The second eyewitness, however, testified that he was the driver of the white Range Rover, that Gill was the only passenger, and that Gill did not have a gun.  According to this witness, the Range Rover and another car, in which appellant was a passenger, pulled up to Gill’s driveway almost simultaneously, and appellant got out of the other car and began shooting. 

The Second Department held that the trial court erred in refusing to give an accomplice-in-fact charge as to the second eyewitness because “different inferences may reasonably be drawn . . . as to whether the second eyewitness drove Gill and the shooter to the scene, with the knowledge that one or the other of them intended to use the gun” and it was “possible that the jury, properly charged on whether to treat the second eyewitness as an accomplice, and, if so, how to consider his testimony, could have discounted his version of the events.” 

Accordingly, the Second Department reversed Mr. Riley's conviction of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and ordered a new trial.  

Yvonne Shivers briefed and argued the case on behalf of Appellate Advocates.