WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - In a split decision released Friday, the North Carolina Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Tyler Greenfield, now 23, for the Feb. 2, 2015 killing of Robert Scott and the shooting of another woman during a drug deal in Wilmington.
The majority of the court found Greenfield was prejudiced by the trial court’s failure to give the jury his proposed self-defense and transferred intent instructions for an assault charge related to the shooting of the woman.
The supreme court’s decision partially reverses an earlier decision by a state court of appeals, which vacated the judgment convicting Greenfield of first-degree murder, and ordered a new trial on the assault charge as well as entry of a judgment convicting him of second-degree murder.
The court will now decide if the new trial will be heard in New Hanover County or moved. District Attorney Ben David says all must be fair for both parties but is confident the same verdict will be reached, no matter what court the trial is held in.
“All the facts have already come out once and they were widely reported at that time,” said David. “So, all that will be taken in consideration if this is the proper venue, or if some other place will be.”
David says trying a case a second time is never easy and when you have to ask witnesses the same questions and you have to tag and re-introduce the same evidence, there are some logistical challenges with that.
A second trial comes with an emotional cost to the victim’s family as well.
“We are always disappointed, but more for the victim’s family. Well, you never get closure for losing a loved one...there should be a thing called legal closure. And they’ve gone through this process and thought there was finality in the verdict. But now, because this case has been reversed on appeal, we are back to square one and have to start this over.”