A former Air Force technical sergeant who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in his wife’s shooting death wants a new trial, according to a motion filed Friday.
In the motion for Jarom Boyes, defense lawyer Gabriel Grasso argued that the jury’s decision March 9 was made shortly after being given a last-minute instruction.
Jurors were confused, Grasso argued, after one of them asked if it would be considered willful or voluntary “if a person did not try lifesaving measures immediately.”
The instruction used the phrase “theories of responsibility,” which Grasso argued placed unnecessary emphasis on whether Boyes was responsible for his wife’s death.
Failing to render aid would qualify as an “unlawful act” under the definition of involuntary manslaughter, the motion said.
“Since Boyes was found not guilty on first-degree murder, second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter the only possible explanation for the jury reaching its verdict within minutes of being given the special instruction is that the jury relied upon the special instruction given over objection by defense counsel,” the motion said.
Boyes was ordered to be released March 13 after serving nearly five years in jail, which exceeded Nevada’s four-year maximum sentence for involuntary manslaughter.
Grasso also argued that involuntary manslaughter never should have been offered as a lesser charge because the state “had spent the entire trial arguing that the death of Melissa Boyes was at the hands of Boyes through premeditation and malice.”
Dr. Jon Lucas, who was a Clark County medical examiner in April 2013, testified that the gunshot wound suffered by Melissa Boyes, 24, was fatal and that she only could have lived for a few seconds prior to dying, the motion said.
“Based upon Dr. Lucas’ testimony, Boyes could have done nothing to save Melissa’s life,” Grasso wrote.
Prosecutor Jake Villani plans to file an opposition to the motion this week, Chief Deputy District Attorney Binu Palal said.
Because of the conviction, Grasso said, his client will have trouble finding a job.
“He’s 46, he’s been in jail for almost five years, he’s going to try to rebuild his life, and it’s going to be difficult being a convicted felon,” Grasso said.
District Judge Jennifer Togliatti is expected to hold a hearing on Grasso’s motion March 27.
Contact Briana Erickson at email@example.com or 702-387-5244. Follow @brianarerick on Twitter.