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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Supreme Court orders new trial for man convicted of killing five

Posted by on Thu, Nov 8, 2012 at 1:10 PM

SAMUEL CONWAY
  • Correction Department
  • SAMUEL CONWAY
The Arkansas Supreme Court today ordered a new trial for Samuel Conway, convicted of killing five people in Garland County in 2009. He is serving a life sentence.

The Supreme Court said Circuit Judge Homer Wright should have dismissed a juror who sent a note to the judge during the state's presentation of its case saying he didn't think he could render a fair verdict because he'd already made up his mind. The judge said the juror had only acknowledged that he'd formed an opinion, which many jurors do before going into deliberations. He said he didn't see how any juror could hear three days of testimony without beginning to form an opinion.

Here's the opinion in the case. The opinion by Justice Karen Baker said, "The right to a fair and impartial trial is a fundamental guarantee, and Conway was denied that right in this case."

This is the case in which a family of five in Pearcy was killed and their bodies burned in a theft to steal expensive wheel rims and flat-screen TVs. Deputies were injured in a shootout when arrests were made in the case.

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