Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

New trial ordered in murder case

Defendant's Sixth Amendment right was violated

By: Bennett Loudon//November 12, 2021

New trial ordered in murder case

Defendant's Sixth Amendment right was violated

By: Bennett Loudon//November 12, 2021

A state appeals court has ordered a new trial for a man convicted of murder because of a Sixth Amendment violation.

Defendant Troy Lockley, 47, was convicted in state Supreme Court in Queens in June 2014 of two counts of second-degree murder, first-degree burglary, attempted first-degree robbery, and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Lockley was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison.

According to the decision released Wednesday by the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court, Second Department, the main issue in the case is whether Lockley’s Sixth Amendment right to confrontation was violated when an officer testified about statements that implicated Lockley and were made to the officer by someone who did not testify.

The case arises from an incident during the evening of Aug. 21, 2003 when a woman was standing outside her friend’s apartment smoking a cigarette when two men approached her. One of them, who also was smoking a cigarette, pulled out a gun and ran past her into her friend’s home while the second man blocked her from going inside.

There was a gunshot inside the apartment and the woman was taken inside where her friend, who had been shot, was lying on the floor near the front door. The men rummaged through the home looking for money and valuables, then fled.

A police officer found a discarded cigarette underneath the couch near the front door. The medical examiner linked DNA on the cigarette to Lockley and he was convicted of murder and other crimes.

“The judgment must be reversed and a new trial ordered because the Supreme Court impermissibly allowed the People, through a police witness, to present a statement made to law enforcement officials by the nontestifying accomplice which directly implicated the defendant in the charged crimes,” wrote Justice Cheryl E. Chambers.

During the trial, a detective testified that he confronted Lockley with information he “had learned from several sources,” including that Lockley and others had gone to the victim’s residence prior to the night of the murder and had approached him while he was outside smoking a cigarette, but then left the scene after the victim retreated inside the house, according to the decision.

The detective told Lockley that he knew Lockley went back to the scene with another man on the night of the murder, that Lockley pulled out a gun and forced the victim into the house while the other man restrained a girl outside, according to the decision.

During the prosecution’s summation, the prosecutor re-emphasized the detective’s testimony “that Lockley was the one that went in and shot this guy,” according to the statement.

Lockley himself objected to the prosecution’s failure to call the person who implicated Lockley, arguing that he had the right to confront his accuser.

The judge denied the objection and told Lockely that the prosecution “produce who they want to produce and … call who they want to call,” Chambers wrote.

The prosecution claimed that there is no proof that the statement implicating Lockley was actually made to law enforcement officials, and suggested that the detective it up as a ruse to confront the defendant and get him to confess.

But the prosecution never disavowed the statements at trial and actually emphasized the statement in their opening statement and summation.

The prosecution also suggested that the statement was never introduced for its truth, but only to illustrate the defendant’s reaction to it.

Even if that was the prosecution’s intent, the jury was never told that they could not consider the statement for its truth.

“We cannot conclude that the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Although the People presented a very strong circumstantial case, (the statement) was the only direct evidence linking the defendant to the murder,” Chambers wrote.

[email protected] / (585) 232-2035

Case Digests

See all Case Digests

Law News

See All Law News


How Is My Site?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...