A Medford teen convicted in 2008 for the 2007 murder of an East Patchogue man had his verdict overturned by a state appeals court and will receive a new trial.
Terraine Slide, 19, was convicted of shooting Carleton Shaw, 38, when Slide and four other teens entered Shaw's home to commit a burglary on May 8, 2007 said the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office and Suffolk Police. Shaw's body was found approximately six hours after the shooting with his 3-year-old son sleeping on his chest. On August 6, 2008, Slide was convicted of murder in the second degree, burglary in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree by a jury that deliberated for five hours.
The appellate court ruled on Sept. 28 that Slide, 19, did not receive a fair trial as a result of being questioned on cross-examination regarding two prior arrests for shoplifting and unlawful possession of marijuana and suspensions on his school disciplinary record without having the opportunity by the judge to demonstrate possible undue prejudice in a pretrial hearing.
While the jury of the case was asked to disregard questioning that related to the character of Slide's mother, the jury was not instructed to disregard the questioning related to the defendant's own previous acts said the State Supreme Court's Appellate Division in a document regarding the decision.
The court also ruled that the judge did not explain to the jurors that Slide's statements to homicide detectives were possibly made involuntarily and that the jury did not receive instructions regarding standards that could have been used to decide whether that was the case. The instructions given to the jury were to disregard the statement if the jury could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the statement was voluntary.
The appellate division also says in its document that while the guilty verdict was not against the weight of the evidence in the case, that "it cannot be said that there is no significant probability that the verdict would have been different absent these errors." Therefore, the court ruled that the conviction had to be reversed and a new trial ordered.
Griselda Amaya, who lived with Shaw at the time of his death, was unavailable for comment as of press time.
The decision is currently under review by the Suffolk County District Attorney Appeals Bureau.
The full document issued by the State Supreme Court Appellate Division regarding the reversal of the conviction is viewable in the pdf section.