ANN ARBOR, MI – A man convicted of murder and second degree murder for the same murder will return to trial court to correct a flagrant violation of the double criminality rule.
The Michigan Court of Appeals issued an opinion Thursday, Jan.21, upholding the conviction of Darrick Duffin who was convicted on May 24, 2019, on one count for every first degree felony, firearm felony and felony in possession of a firearm.
He was also convicted of one count of second degree murder which was incorrectly merged with the murder charge, which led to the case being referred to correct the matter by simply quashing the lesser charge. .
“The trial court appears to have correctly recognized that a conviction for first degree murder and a conviction for second degree murder for the death of a single victim violated the double sentence, as shown by its ‘merging’ of two convictions for murder of the accused, ”the court wrote. “However, the trial court erred because the correct remedy is to overturn the lesser murder conviction.”
Duffin was convicted of the murder of 32-year-old Nina Battle following a bench trial before Washtenaw County Trial Judge Carol Kuhnke.
Battle was found dead from gunshot wounds shortly after 4 p.m. on March 4, 2017, at his apartment in the Fairway Trails apartment complex, 214 S. Hewitt Road, Ypsilanti Township, after a neighbor told police said she heard gunshots and found a bullet hole in her own apartment, according to records.
Prosecutors were successful in arguing that Duffin, 50, of Ypsilanti Township, killed Battle and scoured his apartment for money before calling his cousin to look for him at the scene and take him to a Detroit casino.
A trail of blood, along with two 9mm handgun cartridges led investigators to determine that she had been shot twice on her couch.
Police theorized that Battle stood up after being shot, walked through her kitchen to the apartment’s front door, then returned to the kitchen, where she was found dead on the floor.
Upon his conviction on July 9, 2019, Duffin maintained his innocence and vowed to devote his resources in prison to the search for the “real” killer, he said.
He was sentenced to serve a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole
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