By MARK THIESSEN , Associated Press ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Court of Appeals overturned the murder conviction of a man Friday, saying a Ketchikan prosecutor made so many improper points in his closing argument that a fair trial wasn't possible.
The court overturned the conviction for Devin Rossiter. He was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2011 death of Nick Stachelrodt, who confronted the then-18-year-old Rossiter when he was rifling through a car looking for cigarettes. The men struggled, and Rossiter used a small dagger to stab Stachelrodt in the chest and neck.
Rossiter claimed self-defense.
During closing arguments, then-Ketchikan assistant district attorney James Scott said the jury must convict Rossiter unless members decided Stachelrodt deserved to die.
The defense appealed, successfully arguing that Scott mischaracterized self-defense law and shifted the burden of proof to the defense.