Stories about Jeff Pyne's case A juror has called Jeffrey Pyne’s attorney expressing regret for the decision to convict Pyne of the second-degree murder of his mother, according to a story on M-Live.com.
Pyne was found guilty right before Christmas, and will be sentenced on January 29th.
Jeffrey, a 23-year old former student from the University of Michigan-Flint, continues to maintain his innocence, and his family, friends and community support him.
His mother, Ruth, was murdered in May 2011. She was mentally ill for years, and had previously been violent towards Jeffrey and his younger sister Julia.
Jury compromised verdict
Pyne's attorney, James Champion, recently told M-Live that he received a call from one juror who said that she felt awful after rendering the second-degree murder guilty verdict.
Champion believes that the jury decided on second-degree murder as a compromise, since there was only circumstantial evidence against Jeff.
The attorney called this "splitting the baby." The jury had enough doubts that they did not convict Pyne of first degree murder, which was the original charge. However, they were not sure what happened, so they convicted Pyne of the lesser charge.
The mandatory sentence for a first-degree murder conviction in Michigan is life in prison without parole. Second-degree murder can carry a charge anywhere from one year to life in prison. Prosecutors are seeking a 13-30 year prison term for Jeff Pyne.
M-Live reporter doesn’t understand verdict
“Logically, the verdict seemed strange,” mused Gus Burns, the M-Live reporter who sat through the trial.
Burns explained that the main difference between first-degree and second-degree murder is the malice of forethought. The prosecutor argued that the killer showed undeniable intent based on the nature of the injuries. In addition, many witnesses for the prosecution testified that there had to be intent.
“Based on this premise, if you believe Jeffrey Pyne delivered the injuries, he should be guilty of first-degree murder,” stated Burns.
Everything in the trial seemed to work against Jeff Pyne. For example, Champion also believes the timing and length of the trial may have contributed to the outcome.
"It was Christmas time right around the bend and they wanted to get out of there," he said.
There will definitely be an appeal, according to Champion.
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