New trial for teen convicted of killing dad?

December 12, 2008 5:11:58 AM PST
There was a big bombshell today in a high-profile murder case back in 2004. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

As a result, a teenager convicted of killing his father could be headed for a new trial.

You'll remember Dr. Rick Lostroh, whose then 10-year-old son was convicted of killing him - that was until the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals weighed in.

The ten year old suspect, now 14, remains in a Texas Youth Commission facility. His defense team calls Thursday's decision a win and claims jurors didn't hear everything they should have before reaching a decision in 2006. In October of 2006, the young suspect was convicted by a juvenile court jury for shooting and killing his father. At the trial, the accused claimed he'd been abused most of his life and was fearful of visiting his father.

"He grew up with a life of strife and he knew nothing else," said the teen's attorney Chris Tritico.

While he was sentenced to ten years with the TYC, his defense attorney says he always felt jurors never heard the entire story.

"The thing that reversed this case was not allowing our expert to testify regarding his state of mind and how a ten year old could get to the point where he could shoot his father," Tritico said.

Thursday, the 14th Court of Appeals of Texas reversed the conviction saying, "The trial court erred in denying requested jury instructions and excluding expert testimony"

That expert testimony was specific information from an expert doctor that the appeals court said, "The trial court excluded any testimony from Dr. Joseph Glenmullen about whether (the victim) believed he was in danger of imminent harm at the time he shot his father."

Baylor College of Medicine psychiatrist Dr. Richard Pesikoff has been an expert in dozens of trials.

"Knowledge, information is really at the core of what we're talking about," Dr Pesikoff told us. "So the more appropriate information the law allows the judge and jury to hear the more likely they will make a more appropriate decision."

Thursday's ruling was a disappointment to the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

"There's different things he could have done that would have avoided having to take his father's life," Alan Curry with the DA's office said.

Curry is chief of the appellate division where prosecutors maintain there was no threat of imminent harm.

"He shot his father in the back while sitting in the back seat of the vehicle," Curry said. "There was nothing his father was getting ready to do by any person's version of the facts."

The teen could get a new trial but it won't happen overnight. The DA's office says it will likely file a motion for a rehearing which means the entire nine judge panel on the court of appeals could overrule what three decided. They also could go straight to the Texas Supreme Court.

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