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State high court reverses capital-murder conviction

By The Associated Press

This article was published April 10, 2014 at 12:59 p.m.

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Supreme Court has reversed a Lincoln County man's capital-murder conviction on grounds that there was not sufficient proof the accused man committed the crime.

In a split decision, the court on Thursday dismissed the conviction and life sentence of 23-year-old Justin Jamaille Thornton in the 2011 shooting death of 22-year-old Kwame Turner.

The majority concluded that there was evidence that Turner was killed in Thornton's home, but no evidence that Thornton was the person who fired the shot. The justices also said there was no evidence of premeditation.

Thornton was convicted in a non-jury trial and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Prosecutors didn't seek the death penalty.

The appeal didn't address a gun charge and other counts on which Thornton was also convicted.

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