The attorney for Bobby Batiste, who was sentenced to death in 2009 for capital murder in the death of Andreas Galanis, argued to the Mississippi Supreme Court today that prosecutors were unsuccessful in proving Batiste robbed his victim, which is necessary for an Oktibbeha County jury to convict him of that count.
In Mississippi, capital murder is defined as murder committed along with another crime known as an underlying felony.
Prosecutors say Galanis died in 2008 from a blow to the head after an argument over money between the two Mississippi State University student roommates escalated in their room at 21 Apartments.
In an Associated Press report, Alison Steiner with the Office of Capital Defense Counsel told the Supreme Court that the trial judge (Jim Kitchens) failed to let the jury hear that Batiste's theft of Galanis' wallet occurred after his death, meaning the crime could not be classified as capital murder.
Steiner said Batiste may have been convicted of murder or manslaughter and avoided a death sentence if the jury had been informed of intent, according to the report.
Assistant Attorney General Jason Davis told the Supreme Court that the facts presented to the jury "clearly supported that the robbery occurred."
Steiner said Batiste was also denied an instruction on self-defense. According to court records, he claimed Galanis attacked him first.
Davis countered that there is evidence of "heinous injuries inflicted" on Galanis and none that Batiste sustained any injuries.