Court of Appeals orders new trial in death of elderly man

OSCODA (AP) — The Michigan Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for two people in the death of an elderly man in northern Michigan.

Carl and Rachel Bruce were convicted of murder in Oscoda County after the prosecutor said their neglect of Rachel’s father caused his death in 2012.

Herman Ritchey had Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, heart disease and high blood pressure. But his death was blamed on malnutrition.

The appeals court threw out the convictions last Thursday, saying the couple’s rights were violated when defense lawyers failed to line up an expert to challenge the prosecutor’s theory.

The court says it’s possible jurors might have been convinced that Ritchey’s death wasn’t the result of the couple’s actions.

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