Man convicted in 1999 of murder wins new trial

DETROIT (AP) -- A federal appeals court has ordered a new trial or the release of a convicted killer after finding that blacks were illegally kept off his Wayne County jury in 1999.

Gregory Rice is serving a life sentence for the murder of a woman. The appeals court this week said Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway had discredited the prosecutor's reasons for keeping certain blacks off the jury but the trial still went ahead.

The appeals court says the Michigan Supreme Court was wrong in 2005 when it refused to grant Rice a new trial. The appeals court says Rice's constitutional rights were violated.

The prosecutor's office has six months to take Rice to trial again or he'll be released from prison. Another appeal could also stop the process.

Published: Mon, Oct 31, 2011