Murder Conviction Upheld

BARNSTABLE –A former Hyannis resident convicted of second degree murder in 1995 has had his conviction upheld by the Massachusetts Appeals Court.

Justin Ward shot his girlfriend in the head the morning of April 1, 1994, after arguing with her earlier in the evening, Barnstable Police discovered the body of 20 year old Erica Epperson when they arrived on the scene. The shooting tool place at Ward’s apartment in Hyannis.

Ward was convicted partially based on the testimony of a toxicologist who later admitted in a subsequent unrelated case that she had made a mistake during Ward’s trial and Ward argued that admission provided the basis for a reduced charge of manslaughter.

The Appeals Court rejected that argument saying that the evidence against Ward was overwhelming; where he pointed a loaded gun at the victim’s head and he was aware of his actions.

Ward was sentenced on December 29, 1997 to life with the possibility of parole on the second degree murder conviction.

A motion for a new trial was also denied.

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