INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned the conviction of a man in a deadly 2018 shooting outside a suburban Kansas City shopping mall because he was not allowed to argue that the shooting was self defense.
The ruling from the full court said the prohibition hamstrung Tyler Gates' defense attorneys and violated Gates' constitutional rights.
Jurors found Gates guilty in June 2019 of second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of 17-year-old Matthew Haylock at the Independence Center. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Gates' co-defendant, Luis Ramirez, was sentenced to concurrent terms of eight years for attempted robbery and three years for armed criminal action in the same case.
Prosecutors said the shooting occurred after Gates, who was just 18 at the time, and Ramirez, also a teen, decided to rob Haylock of a gun. Gates, however, claims he did not rob Haylock. He said he fired in self-defense after Haylock attempted to rob him. But he was barred from presenting the self-defense argument at his trial.
The Supreme Court's ruling said that the decision left Gates unable to counter the prosecution's argument that he robbed Haylock. The ruling sent the case back to the lower court.
A spokesman for the Jackson County prosecutor's office didn't immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment.