Two first-degree murder convictions against a Baltimore man serving life plus 20 years in the shooting deaths of two men at an Essex party were overturned Wednesday by Maryland's highest court.
The Maryland Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for Jaron Tyree Grade, 34, ruling unanimously that a Baltimore County judge violated Grade's rights by replacing a juror with an alternate during his trial with no input from the defense.
Grade was convicted December 2004 of fatally shooting two men in September 2003. On the morning the jury was to start deliberations, one juror had called to say she had an emergency and would be at least an hour late arriving. The prosecutor and defense attorney arrived in court that morning to learn the judge already seated an alternate.
"We are reviewing the evidence in the case," said Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger in reaction to the Court of Appeals ruling. "We intend to retry the defendant, and we are hopeful that we can obtain another conviction."