The Winston-Salem Journal reports that the North Carolina Supreme Court has stayed a decision which overturned an attempted murder conviction of Jermaine Tart. Tart was convicted in 2016 of one count of attempted first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and inflicting serious injury after he stabbed Richard Cassidy in the neck, back and chest on March 2, 2014, says The Journal.
Cassidy was a volunteer at a homeless shelter at the time of the attack.
On December 5, an appeals court vacated Tart’s conviction, stating that the original indictment stated he attempted to “kill and slay” the victim, which is technically language used in a case of manslaughter. That indictment should have stated he attempted to “kill and murder” Cassidy. The court’s decision went on to say that “murder” and “slay” are “not interchangeable” in its 11-page opinion, which was written by Judge Robert Hunger Jr.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals determined because the original indictment was flawed, a judgment could not be entered for the attempted murder charge. The assault with a deadly weapon charge was upheld, states The Journal.
Assistant Attorney General Michael Henry asked the North Carolina Supreme Court to issue a stay and review the appeals court’s decision on December 14. The stay was granted on December 15.
Tart was 35 at the time of his conviction, and his defense of insanity was rejected by the jury. He was sentenced to 18 to 22 years in prison, according to The Journal.
At the time of the attempted murder, Cassidy was escorting Tart and other men from a ministry building to an overflow homeless shelter at the First Presbyterian Church on North Marshall Street. When they arrived at the church, Tart attacked Cassidy from behind and stabbed him with two different knives he purchased earlier that same day.
*Photo credit Winston-Salem Journal