Appeals court again throws out conviction in 1983 stabbing

HIGHLAND PARK (AP) — The Michigan Court of Appeals again has thrown out the murder conviction of a man who was brought to trial about 30 years after a fatal stabbing in Highland Park in 1983.

The conviction of William Lyles Jr. was set aside because the trial judge failed to tell jurors that they could consider evidence of his peaceful character when deciding whether he killed Andrew Weathers.

In an opinion released last week, the appeals court says the error wasn’t harmless. The court says Lyles’ character evidence was “crucial to his defense.”

The court says evidence against Lyles was “far from overwhelming,” with much of it lost over decades.

The 64-year-old is serving a life sentence. In 2014, the appeals court also threw out his conviction, but the state Supreme Court ordered another look.