Jason Morgan denied new trial

Jason Morgan was back in court this afternoon. He's the man convicted of killing Roy Wyatt after a fight over a bicycle and he wants a new trial. Jason Morgan was convicted of second degree murder last month-- his defense attorney says if only a certain witness had been available the verdict could've been different. But Judge David Ritchie doesn't buy it.

Morgan's attorney Ted Hartman argued if the defense had been able to locate a witness by the name of Wayne Jones-- that Morgan might have been found not guilty.  The defense said Jones would dispute testimony of a key state witness who said he saw Jason Morgan shoot Roy Wyatt. Said Hartman, "Wayne Jones completely contradicts Jeremy Wyatt's statement about where Jeremy Wyatt was when the shooting happened. And if Wayne Jones had the opportunity to testify he would have contradicted Jeremy Wyatt and the real killer, Darren Morgan, would have been, he would have realized that was the real killer and not Jason Morgan."

But when Jones took the stand he testified he himself saw the shooting and that the key witness was even closer-- testimony that prosecutor Rick Bryant says actually favors the state. "The idea that he would have somehow helped the defense I think was blown away today when he actually testified before Judge Ritchie and as the whole courtroom saw and Judge Ritchie saw not only did he not help the defendant he harmed him a great deal. And the standard is this testimony must be such that the jury, had it heard it, would have changed its verdict. On the contrary, I think the evidence was overwhelmingly in support of the state's case."

Besides Bryant points out the case didn't rest solely on one key witness. "We had a witness who testified that she overheard the two brothers talking. That he confessed to her of shooting the victim in this case and that the brother was going to take the rap for it, the fall for it."

Judge David Ritchie denied the motion for a new trial and was ready to impose the mandatory life sentence on Morgan but the defense declined to waive a 24 hour waiting period until sentencing. Explained Hartman, "Because I want to speak on behalf of Jason Morgan in a way that's independent of a new trial about his background, his family. He's got small children, he's got a family. Reporter: The judge doesn't has no discretion anyway, does he? Hartman: Does that mean that I shouldn't speak on his behalf? I don't think Judge Ritchie would have that position that I shouldn't be able speak on his behalf. He's a human being after all."

So, Jason Morgan will go before Judge David Ritchie for sentencing at 9 am Friday.

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