DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A mistake by a court clerk could lead to a convicted murderer getting a new trial.
“It’s not just any convicted murderer,” said WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton. “His name is Brandon Cain and he was sentenced to two life sentences by Judge Vonda Evans, who when sentencing him called him a master of doom.”
The Michigan Supreme Court is hearing arguments Wednesday in the case of Cain, who was convicted of killing two Hamtramck women and sentenced to life in prison in 2012.
The state appeals court last year ordered a new trial, saying jurors were mistakenly sworn with an oath that’s used during the jury selection process — not the one that’s used when a jury is seated. No one objected until Cain’s attorney filed an appeal.
“The legal issue here is whether an incorrect oath to a jury constitutes a substantial error of law, necessitating a new trial,” said Langton.
The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says the oath didn’t affect the integrity or fairness of Cain’s trial. The 29-year-old remains in custody in an Upper Peninsula prison.
“I think the prosecution is going to win this one, but we’ll see what the Supreme Court does,” said Langton.
Cain was convicted of first-degree murder, torture, unlawful imprisonment and felony firearm charges in the murder of 18-year-old Abreeya Brown and 22-year-old Ashley Conaway. The best friends were abducted from their home in a hail of gunfire and stuffed into a car trunk before they were killed in Feb. 2012.
The young women’s bodies were found about a month later in shallow graves in a wooded area near Six Mile and Telegraph roads in Detroit. The women were bound, gagged and shot execution-style. Police believe they were targeted for informing authorities about an earlier shooting.
Cain was considered the “mastermind” in the plot. Four other men were sentenced in the case.
Cousins 26-year-old Reginald Brown and 21-year-old Jeremy Brown received life sentences; 27-year-old Brian Lee was given 45-80 years; and 24-year-old Miguel Rodriguez got 20-35 years.
The Brown cousins are not related to Abreeya Brown.
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