Murder Convictions Against '.22-Caliber Killer' Overturned

Associated Press

Murder convictions against the ".22-Caliber Killer" for shooting three black men in the Buffalo area during a 26-hour period in 1980, were overturned Friday by New York's highest court.

The state Court of Appeals ruled 4 to 2 that the trial judge had erred when he rejected a plea from Joseph Christopher's lawyers to present new expert testimony about their client's psychological fitness to stand trial and assist in his defense. The ruling reversed a May, 1984, decision by a lower state appeals court upholding the convictions.

Christopher, 29, who is white, was sentenced in May, 1982, to a 60-year-to-life prison term after he was convicted of killing three black males with a sawed-off .22-caliber rifle in Buffalo and suburban Cheektowaga in September, 1980.

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