The Times West Virginian

Local News

May 16, 2014

Defense seeks new trial for Palmer

Prosecutor: Everything filed in post-trial motions heard, considered by jury

FAIRMONT — Post-trial motions were heard Thursday in the case of Michael Palmer v. State of West Virginia.

Michael Palmer, convicted on March 26 of the first-degree murder of his father-in-law Everett “Ed” Wilson, was represented by defense attorney Sean Murphy. The state was represented by Marion County prosecuting attorney Patrick Wilson.

The defense was seeking a new trial for Palmer.

“There is not one of us here — law enforcement, prosecutors, defense attorneys (or) judges — who haven’t taken an oath to uphold the law,” Murphy said. “I believe that there was not one of us here that was involved in this — law enforcement, prosecutors, the court, myself and Miss Tate — who believe when that verdict was handed to the judge, handed to you, that it was going to say ‘guilty of first-degree murder.’”

Murphy said he saw a look of “shock” on every person in the courtroom.

“Will we acknowledge that there was a deficiency in evidence in terms of intent, deliberation and the state’s complete failure to rebuff the fact that Mr. Palmer acted in self defense? The state has the burden to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt,” Murphy said. “They adduced nothing at trial to disprove that Mr. (Ed) Wilson came to their home armed and attempted to harm and inflict a bodily injury upon Mr. Palmer.

“They did nothing to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt ... that the actions of Mr. Wilson were not such that a reasonable person, let alone Mr. Palmer, would have been fearful that they would have received a serious bodily injury or that a crime would be committed in the home.”

Murphy referred to Wilson’s actions on the night of the murder as a “felony offense.”

Patrick Wilson said the issue before the court was “whether or not Mr. Palmer’s actions on that night were justified.”

“(The jury) got to listen to the evidence for 11 days. They deliberated over several hours, as the court is well aware, over two days,” Wilson said. “All the things that are in these post-trial motions filed by the defense that are listed as reasons for a new trial were things that jury heard, or got to consider, in making their decision in this case. They found that evidence justifies, beyond a reasonable doubt, that (Mr. Palmer) is guilty of first-degree murder.”

Marion County Circuit Judge Michael Aloi told both parties he would “take the matter under advisement” and he would issue a written decision.

Email Richard Babich at rbabich@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @rbabichTWV.

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