Doctor convicted in murder-for-hire case wants new trial

Miya Shay Image
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Leon Jacob's siblings rush out of court after effort to appeal conviction
Leon Jacob's siblings rush out of court after effort to appeal conviction | ABC13's Miya Shay tried to get a word with them

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Could an unusual argument give Leon Jacob a new trial?

Appellate lawyers working on behalf of the fallen doctor convicted on a murder-for-hire plot certainly hope so.

"What is alleged has to be proven," said R. Scott Shearer, the attorney who made the unusual argument in front of the 14th Court of Criminal Appeals.

RELATED: Leon Jacob sentenced to life in prison in murder for hire trial

As Shearer explained, the indictments against Jacob say that he concocted a murder-for-hire plot against "M.M." and "M.V." The indictment does not spell out that M.M. stands for Marion "Mack" McDaniel, the former husband of Jacob's girlfriend. Similarly, prosecutors did not have the name Meghan Verikas, Jacob's former girlfriend, in the indictment.

Shearer points out that the law says prosecutors must establish and prove that the names in indictments are actually the people who participated in the trial.

"If M.M. stands for the complaining witness, it has to be shown. It could be Mickey Mouse. We don't know what it was, because no one ever testified, and there is no proof as to what it was," he said.

SEE ALSO: Former Houston doctor found guilty in murder-for-hire plot

For its part, lawyers for the district attorney's office did not seem to push back at the specific link. Instead, they told the justices that the link should be inferred because the witnesses who testified clearly were the ones referenced in the indictment.

The three-judge panel clearly took the argument seriously. Just granting oral arguments in the first place is fairly rare in the appellate process.

Jacob's sister and brother attended Thursday's arguments. They ran away from our cameras and refused to comment.

LEON JACOB: "I never asked anybody to kill anybody"

Lawyer Jerome Godinich spoke for Jacob. "He's looking forward to a resolution of the issues."

Any resolution could be months, if not years away. The justices often take months to issue an opinion, no matter which side succeeds.

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