ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A Baltimore man who authorities say disguised himself as a woman to carry out a murder has been granted a new trial.
Brandon Payton was sentenced to life in prison in 2016 after being convicted of killing 33-year-old Steven Bass.
The killing occurred just days after Payton was released on bail after being charged with rioting and reckless endangerment in the unrest following the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray.
The Court of Special Appeals ruled Thursday that Payton deserves a new trial in the Bass case because the trial court abused its discretion.
After Payton’s attorneys moved for acquittal, the judge reopened the state’s case to allow further testimony from a forensic expert about a palm print.
The appeal court says that violated the judge’s obligation to remain neutral.