HIGHLAND PARK (WWJ/AP) – The Michigan appeals court has overturned a murder conviction in a Wayne County case that took about 30 years to bring to trial.

The court says the rights of William Lyles Jr. were violated at trial last year when Judge Megan Brennan didn’t give the jury a standard instruction about considering evidence of Lyles’ good character.

Lyles was convicted of stabbing Andrew Weathers in Highland Park in 1983. Highland Park Police Detective Paul Thomas said the murder occurred at a home on Louise Street where Weathers lived with Lyle’s ex-girlfriend.

Although Lyle was sentenced to life in prison without parole, he wasn’t charged for nearly three decades. Files and evidence were lost, but the case eventually was reopened.

The appeals court noted that evidence at trial was largely circumstantial. The court says that’s why the jury instruction about Lyles’ character evidence was important.

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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