Death Sentenced Reversed Following Court Record Discrepancy

By: Allison Mechanic Email
By: Allison Mechanic Email

One word has caused a death sentence to be reversed.

For the last three-years, Tawuan Justin Townes has been on death row for the 2008 shooting and killing of Christopher James Wood.

Townes was convicted in 2011, but after going through court records, there is a discrepancy in how Judge Larry Anderson instructed the jury.

The court reporter's documents show that Judge Anderson told the jury that they "must" presume that Townes had the intent to kill. However, prosecutors contend the judge actually used the word "may".

“The judge felt very confident that he did not use the term 'must' he would have used the term 'may' and the actual recording of the charge itself has been checked and presented to me and says 'may',” said District Attorney Doug Valeska. “Once again the trial judge did not make a mistake; the court reporter was just a typo that was sent to them actually typed up.”

According to Valeska, there will most likely be a hearing to resolve the differences between the trial transcript and the audio recording.

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