FAIRFIELD — All it took was one remark Friday to derail a murder trial.
While questioning a witness, the prosecutor mentioned that the defendant, Deshaun P. Malone, had previously been found guilty of murder by a jury.
Judge Wendy G. Getty said the jury’s learning of the previous guilty verdict made it impossible for them to remain objective and unbiased. Getty previously ordered that there should be no mention of the previous verdict.
Malone, 24, is set to start a new trial, his third, Wednesday.
Malone shot and killed a 17-year-old drug dealer who was dealing Ecstasy tablets out of his car on the night of Nov. 16, 2008. Malone had pulled a gun on the dealer and was trying to rob him when the dealer tried to drive off. A shot was fired and the dealer died. Malone said it was an accident.
In a 2010 jury trial, the jury rejected Malone’s claims that the shooting on Mockingbird Lane was an accident and self-defense. He was serving a 50-years-to-life prison sentence in 2011 when he learned the Court of Appeal had overturned his conviction, ruling that the judge mistakenly refused to let jurors have the option of finding Malone guilty of manslaughter instead of murder.
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This version corrects the location where the fatal shooting occurred.