ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The man convicted of killing a decorated Army veteran at an Albuquerque ATM in 2016 will get a new trial.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that the state Court of Appeals overturned the convictions of Matthew Chavez in a ruling earlier this month.
A jury found Chavez guilty in 2018 of second-degree murder and lesser charges in 24-year-old Tyler Lackey's death. He was sentenced to more than 23 years in prison.
The Court of Appeals found the judge overseeing the trial should not have rejected a request to instruct jurors they could consider a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.
Second Judicial District Attorney Raul Torrez’s office slammed the ruling.
“This decision turns the roles of the criminal and the victim upside down and we encourage the Attorney General to ask the New Mexico Supreme Court to reinstate the jury’s verdict,” spokeswoman Lauren Rodriguez said in a statement.
In February 2016, investigators say Lackey and a friend stopped by the ATM and Chavez tried to rob Lackey. The Army veteran, who had a concealed-carry permit, took out a handgun and followed a retreating Chavez.
Defense attorneys argued Chavez shot Lackey in self-defense.