MT. VERNON –– A man convicted of murder should receive a hearing on his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, an appeals court ruled.
The Fifth District Appellate Court reversed a lower court's decision denying post-conviction relief to Dorian E. Boyd.
Boyd was convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Dion Harden outside of a nightclub. He is serving 40 years in prison.
In his petition, Boyd claims his counsel did not interview three witnesses to the shooting, who can corroborate he did not have a gun. The three witnesses -- Deontri Wiley, Andre Murray and Travon Wiley -- told police in videotaped statements they did not see Boyd with a gun.
Boyd claims another person outside of the nightclub shot Harden.
“It is arguable that trial counsel’s failure to investigate the potential witnesses fell below an objective standard of reasonableness and that the alleged deficiency prejudiced the defense," Justice Judy Cates wrote in the opinion.
Justices Richard Goldenhersh and David Overstreet concurred.
The St. Clair Circuit Court previously denied Boyd's petition, calling his claims "frivolous and without merit."
Boyd filed the petition under the Post-Conviction Hearing Act, which allows a defendant to challenge a conviction with a substantial claim his or her constituional rights were denied.
Appellate Court of Illinois, Fifth Circuit, case number No. 5-15-0310