The man convicted of killing North Woodmere motivational speaker Jeffrey Locker will get a new trial.
Kenneth Minor was convicted on one count of second-degree murder and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for his role in the death of Locker, whose body was found on July 16, 2009, in his car in Harlem. Minor has claimed that he only held a knife, as Locker, whose hands were bound behind his back, thrust himself up the blade.
A state appeals court ruled that the judge incorrectly told jurors that participation in Locker’s death constituted murder even if consent was given, when it could have been considered assisted suicide. Assisted suicide carries a manslaughter charge in New York.
“The jury could have been confused into thinking that defendant's taking the knife out of the glove compartment, or holding the knife, would constitute murder and not assisted suicide, a position the people did not take at trial,” the judges wrote in their decision.
Both prosecutors and the defense said Locker had agreed to give Minor his ATM card to kill him. Minor, who was arrested on July 21, 2009, had told police that Locker wanted to escape his financial woes, and evidence presented during the trial showed the 52-year-old had substantial debt and recently purchased life insurance, according to a release from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
Locker, a parent of three children, was instrumental in the formation of the Hewlett-Woodmere Wrestling Committee.