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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.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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