The state Court of Criminal Appeals has reversed the conviction and death sentence of a man for the beating death of a 5-year-old boy in 2006.
The court reversed the conviction of Kevin Towles Friday, saying in its ruling that jurors weren't properly instructed on the definition of capital murder in the case.
Towles beat his girlfriend's son, Geontae Glass, with a two-by-four piece of lumber after the boy received a bad grade on a report card, police said. Glass died a short time later.
Towles and Geontae's mother, Shalinda Glass, staged a kidnapping in Albertville to cover up their roles in Geontae's death, authorities said. Glass pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
The court overturned Towles's conviction on the grounds that the court improperly instructed jurors, saying that they could still find him guilty of capital murder even if intent to kill him wasn't proven. Towles maintained during his trial that Geontae's death was an accident. The court's instructions to the jury also had "an unfair prejudicial impact on the jury's deliberations," according to the opinion.
The Etowah County District Attorney's office could not immediately be reached for comment.
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