IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A federal judge has taken the rare step of ordering a new trial for a state prisoner convicted in the brutal 1995 murder of a northwestern Iowa teenager.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett resurrects a case that inflamed tensions between whites and Hispanics and led to crackdowns on illegal immigration.
Guillermo Escobedo, now 38, and Cesar Herrarte were convicted in the stabbing death of 19-year-old Justin Younie at a party in Hawarden and are serving life prison sentences.
Bennett ruled last month that Escobedo should have been granted an automatic mistrial when a juror was dismissed for allegedly bragging about being racist during deliberations. He says Escobedo will remain locked up at Clarinda Correctional Facility while state prosecutors appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.