Edward Daniels was tried in absentia after his February 2010 indictment on burglary of a dwelling. Before trial, the charge was amended to cite him as a habitual offender.
A jury found him guilty and sentencing was delayed until he could be located.
Ultimately, Circuit Judge Andrew Howorth sentenced him to life without possibility of parole.
Daniels’ request for a new trial was denied, and he appealed to the supreme court.
Writing for the 9-0 court, Justice Leslie King said Daniels’ conviction and Howorth’s decision not to grant a new trial are reversed and sent back for further proceedings “because the jury instruction on the elements of burglary was fatally flawed.”
Although the state did not have to prove that grand larceny was an element of burglary, King wrote that it was necessary to offer proof of Daniels’ intention to commit “some specific crime” as the second part of burglary.
The jury instruction in question did not do that, the appeals court said.