An appeals court has ordered a new trial for a New Jersey man convicted in a stabbing death shortly after the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2018.
The court cited an assistant prosecutor’s repeatedly calling the defendant a liar and also cited errors in the judge’s instructions to the jury.
Supreme Life, 60, of Lumberton was sentenced to 20 years after he was convicted in Burlington County in March 2019 of passion provocation manslaughter in the death of Moriah Walker, 26, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and the attempted murder of another New York man.
Life, formerly known as Charles Hoskins, testified that as people were outside celebrating the Eagles’ February 2018 win, he teased his son, a Dallas Cowboys fan, and his son responded with an epithet about the Eagles. He said two New York men leaving a nearby party overheard the remark and attacked his son, and he acted in self-defense.
During the trial, Life acknowledged having lied in a statement to police, and the appeals court said that was fair game for prosecutors to point out. But the court said the prosecutor’s repeated use of “derogatory epithets” was improper and the constant labeling of Life as a liar tipped the scales of justice against him.
The court also found fault with the judge’s omission of certain instructions on how jurors could interpret self-defense as it relates to manslaughter.
“The combination of errors in this case, together with the prosecutor’s improper summation, require reversal of defendant’s convictions,” the court said in a decision issued Thursday.
A spokesperson for the county prosecutor’s office told Nj.com Thursday that the decision is under review.