A man’s conviction of involuntary manslaughter is getting thrown out because two jurors at his original trial were sleeping during testimony.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordered Anthony Villalobos, 29, to go back before a jury in connection with the 2009 beating death of 22-year-old Jose Alicea outside a Boston nightclub.
He was on trial in 2011 for second-degree murder, but a jury convicted him on an involuntary manslaughter charge.
The judge in the trial failed to question the jurors about what they had missed after the prosecutor spotted them napping, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled.
Anthony Villalobos’, 29, conviction of involuntary manslaughter in 2011 was thrown out Thursday by Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
The decision said: ‘In the circumstances of this case, the judge’s response to the prosecutor’s reports leaves us with serious doubt that the defendant received the fair trial to which he is constitutionally entitled.’
Villalobos also asked that the charges be dismissed entirely based on lack of evidence, but the court ruled against that request.
Villalobos, of Revere, was one of a dozen men charged in what was called the ‘tuxedo killing.’ The suspects, some wearing black tuxedos with red vests, went to a Boston club in August 2009 after attending a funeral for a friend.
A fight broke out between them and another group of men outside the club at closing time.
Jose Alicea, 22, of Boston, was found lying on the sidewalk with severe head injuries. He was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he died two days later.
‘The court’s conclusion is disappointing and frustrating,’ a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney said.
‘Mr. Alicea’s family now pays the price as a conviction is reversed on speculation, even as the high court notes that it was supported by the evidence,’ the statement said.
Villalobos was originally charged with murder but was convicted of the lesser offense and sentenced to four to five years in prison.