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Michael Amick

Michael Amick

Jefferson City, Mo. — The Missouri Supreme Court Tuesday overturned the conviction of Michael Amick, who was convicted of the Dec. 2, 2008, murder of his wife’s grandmother, Leona Vaughn, and the subsequent arson of her daughter’s home in Myrtle, Mo., where she was staying at that time.
An Oregon County jury convicted him of second degree murder, reduced from the initial charge of first degree murder, and second degree arson.
On Aug. 30, 2011, he was sentenced by Judge J. Max Price to life in prison plus seven years, to run concurrently.
In that trial after the jury had deliberated for about five hours, one juror complained of health problems, and expressed doubt in being able to continue. The court called an alternate, who had already been released, and that alternate was assigned to the jury.
After about 10 minutes more of deliberation, the jury announced its verdict.
Arkansas State SealThe defense immediately called for a mistrial, but Judge Price refused.
Subsequently public defender Samuel Buffaloe of Columbia filed an appeal, which the Court of Appeals considered and forwarded to the Supreme Court. Buffaloe’s brief for the Supreme Court was filed Oct. 31, 2014.
To view that 82-page brief — which along with complaints includes description of events before, during and after the day of the fire, click Amick Appeal brief.
The Supreme Court ruled that the state law which prohibits an alternate being placed once jury deliberations have begun had been violated and agreed to return the case to Oregon County.
A spokesperson for the office of the Oregon County Prosecuting Attorney today told the Hill ’n Holler Review that Amick had not been freed, but was still in custody of the Missouri Department of Corrections and at a yet to be determined time would be returned to Oregon County Jail. It is too early to make any decision on the next step, according to the spokesperson.
H.E and C.L.

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