Murder-for-hire conviction thrown out

DETROIT (AP) -- A conviction and life sentence in a Detroit murder-for-hire trial have been thrown out after an appeals court said an FBI agent was given too much liberty to testify about secretly recorded phone calls.

The federal court said last Friday that agent Peter Lucas infringed upon the jury's role by giving his opinions about the meaning of many calls. The court says "cryptic" exchanges suddenly became "crystal clear" when Lucas testified--and the explanations fit with the prosecutor's view of the case.

Marcus Freeman was convicted of conspiring to help a drug dealer try to kill a man who had stolen cash and jewelry from the drug dealer.

Lucas listened to 23,000 calls and said he could interpret them based on his experience as an FBI agent.

Published: Tue, Sep 17, 2013