HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A divided Connecticut Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned the 2017 murder conviction of a man accused of fatally shooting another man in Bridgeport in 2010, and ordered a new trial.
The court said in a 4-3 ruling that the judge who oversaw the trial of Billy Ray Jones failed to instruct the jury that a key witness against Jones was a “jailhouse informant" who had an incentive to falsely implicate Jones to receive leniency in his own criminal case.
Justices ordered a new trial for Jones, who was arrested in 2013 in the killing of 29-year-old Michael Williams outside a public housing complex and convicted of murder by a jury in 2017. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
The Supreme Court noted the key witness, Larry Shannon, received favorable treatment from the state. Shannon said Jones admitted to him a day after the killing that he was the shooter.
More than two years later, when Shannon was in pretrial detention charged with two felonies, he told police about the alleged confession and subsequently was released without bail and did not receive any prison time for the felonies.
An email seeking comment was sent to a state prosecutor Tuesday.