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Appeals court reverses Surry murder conviction

(AP) — The Court of Appeals of Virginia has reversed a murder conviction stemming from a shooting outside a Surry County nightclub.

A divided three-judge panel said Tuesday that Ronald Taft Davis III’s acquittal on a misdemeanor charge of reckless handling of a firearm precluded his later prosecution for murder based on the same 2008 incident.

Davis was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder after someone fired at least 10 rounds into a parked car, killing a passenger. However, a general district court judge previously had acquitted Davis on the misdemeanor charge, saying prosecutors failed to prove Davis was the gunman.

Applying a legal doctrine based on double jeopardy, the appeals court said the failure to prove Davis did the shooting meant he could not be convicted of murder.

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