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The Utah Supreme Court will not review an appeals court decision to overturn a Magna man's murder conviction.
The high court's denial this week of the state's petition means Billy Justin Charles' case will head back to the 3rd District Court, where local prosecutors say they intend to retry the 15-year-old case.
"We were comfortable in the original filing," Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said. "We will certainly review it, but we have no reason at this time to not prosecute this."
Charles, 35, was charged in 2007 and later convicted of killing 18-year-old Jamie Ellen Weiss, who was found dead in a bathtub in their Magna home.
The charges came more than a decade after Weiss' death and only after a jailhouse informant told officials that Charles had confessed to the slaying.
The Court of Appeals last year overturned Charles' conviction on the grounds that he received ineffective assistance from his defense attorney. Specifically, the court found that the attorney failed to call several witnesses who might have helped with the defense.
"Although each piece of evidence ... is not, by itself, overwhelmingly suggestive of [the] defendant's innocence, taken together this evidence undermines our confidence in the jury's verdict," the Court of Appeals stated in its ruling.
Weiss was found dead in her home on Aug. 7, 1996. While she was found submerged in a bathtub, medical experts said she had no water in her lungs and had actually died from blunt force trauma.
At the 2009 trial, Chief Medical Examiner Todd Grey testified Weiss likely died sometime before Charles went to work at 6 a.m. But Charles told police his girlfriend had helped him start his car that morning, because he could not shift the gears on his car without help if it rested on an incline.
In his appeal, Charles said his defense attorney failed to present evidence that would have corroborated his story that his girlfriend was alive when he left for work.
The court also found the defense failed to put Weiss' cousin, who reportedly saw another car in the woman's driveway on the morning of her death, on its witness list.
The Supreme Court does not provide reasoning for its denials. Charles' attorney, Troy Booher, said Thursday he believed the case did not present any widespread legal questions that required the court's attention.
"The Court of Appeals decision was based on very specific factors pertaining to this case," he said.