Federal Court Overturns Clay County Man's Murder Conviction

APRIL 8, 2004 - Posted at 8:16 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A federal appeals court has overturned the murder conviction of a Piggott man blamed for the death of his girlfriend's two-year-old daughter.

David Reagan served 13 years of a life sentence for a first-degree murder conviction in the 1989 death of Sarah Binkard.  He was released from prison last year after U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright ruled his conviction was unconstitutional.

Wright said the trial judge shouldn't have allowed Reagan's lawyer to also represent the girlfriend, a co-defendant in the case.  She ordered the state to retry Reagan within three months or let him go permanently.  Instead, Reagan and prosecutors worked out an agreement, whereby he would go free while the state appealed Wright's decision.

Yesterday, the appeals court decided not to consider the state's appeal because it ruled for Reagan in his own appeal on another aspect of the case.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)