In 2010, Corey Kucharski of Milwaukee was charged with killing both his parents; Kucharski was convicted in December of 2011 of first-degree intentional homicide, and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of supervised release in 30 years. Kucharski, who is now 38 years old, appealed his conviction, arguing that the judge in the case was wrong in ruling him mentally responsible for the murders of Ralph and Pamela Kucharski, as it was undisputed that at the time of the killings he was suffering from schizophrenia.
At trial, the defendant maintained that following a stint of heavy meth use, voices he started hearing told him to kill his parents. In February of 2010, Kucharski shot his mother four times and his father 10 times inside the home they all shared before calling to report the deaths to the police. Upon calling 911, the defendant told the operator to send the coroner, that his parents were dead. He also reportedly told a dispatcher that his parents were not getting up right now, that they were in a better place.
Although Kucharski was examined for competency twice and ruled competent to stand trial both times, the 1st District Court of Appeals ruled this week that the defendant was “clearly in a psychotic state” when he shot his parents. In the 2 to 1 ruling, the appeals court judges also wrote that there was no other explanation for Kucharski’s behavior. The appeals court tossed the 2011 conviction and ordered a new trial for the defendant.
Michigan criminal appeal attorneys understand how difficult it is to challenge a conviction with the appeals court, particularly when the situation involves such a serious crime as murder. In this case, it is clear that two of the three appeals court panel judges did not agree with Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Jean DiMotto’s ruling that the defendant was mentally responsible for his actions.
In appealing a conviction, the appeals court judges will thoroughly review all of the documentation and evidence presented at trial to determine if mistakes were made, there were errors in judgment such as in this case, or the defendant’s rights violated in some way. While it is fairly uncommon that an appeals court throws out a conviction, it does happen as evidenced in this case.
Anyone who feels he or she has been wrongly convicted should consult with a seasoned Michigan criminal appeals lawyer at once to determine if there may be another opportunity to secure freedom and a fair verdict.