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Trials and Arbitration

Judge's error could set man free without trial for murder

A mistake by a superior court judge means a Georgia man charged with murder may go free without a jury ever weighing his guilt or innocence.

The case started on June 17, 2013, when police said Geary Otis ran up the stairs of a high-rise apartment building for seniors and attacked 71-year-old Emmanuel Surry. He kicked down a metal door and stabbed 75-year-old Mary Oliver to death. Police had to use a stun gun to subdue him, according to court records.

Otis, who was 64 at the time, was a resident in the building, but didn't know Oliver or Surry, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said. Oliver was asleep in her bed and Surry had just returned from taking his uncle to...