Murder conviction overturned in Navajo reservation killing

New Mexico

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — A federal appeals court has overturned a Gallup man’s first-degree murder conviction in a 2016 homicide, ruling that the defendant should have been allowed to present evidence that the man killed had used methamphetamine before a fatal fight.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling Tuesday grants Brian Tony a new trial in the killing of 44-year-old Pat Garcia on the Navajo reservation near Church Rock.

Tony claimed self defense and the trial judge allowed him to present evidence that Garcia’s behavior was erratic and violent.

However, the judge didn’t allow Tony to indicate that Garcia’s alleged behavior resulted from methamphetamine use.

The appeals court said allowing the drug-use evidence sought by the defense might have explained Garcia’s behavior.

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