SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - The highest court in Massachusetts has overturned the first-degree felony murder conviction of a man who was found guilty of killing his ex-girlfriend's mother by dousing her with gasoline and setting her on fire.
Lastarandre Bell, of Springfield, was convicted in 2008 in the death of Julie Ann Nieves. Bell had dated Nieves' daughter.
Bell was convicted of felony murder in the first-degree based on a charge of armed home invasion. He was also convicted of arson.
On Monday, the Supreme Judicial Court reversed Bell's first-degree felony murder conviction. The court found that the judge should have given the jury instructions on second-degree felony murder based on the arson charge. The court said prosecutors may choose to agree to the lesser conviction or may re-try Bell.
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