TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A state appeals court has thrown out a man’s double-murder conviction because he wasn’t given a lawyer when he asked for one and because the prosecutor made inflammatory statements during closing arguments.
Michael J. Pierce was convicted in the 2009 deaths of 60-year-old Patrick Yarr and his 57-year-old wife, Janice. They had been shot execution-style inside their Quilcene home, which was set on fire.
Pierce was arrested after surveillance video caught him using the victims’ debit card at an ATM after the killings. He asked for an attorney, but wasn’t given one for several hours, and he gave an incriminating statement in the meantime.
The three appeals judges ordered that Pierce get a new trial. They said his statement should have been suppressed, and that the prosecutor committed misconduct by fabricating details of the killings in closing arguments.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.