Monday's decision was the second time Lorenzo Dexter Lindsey saw a murder conviction reversed.
This time the court found Mr. Lindsey's trial for the Aug. 11, 2002, fatal shooting of Marcus Taylor was so flawed that Mr. Lindsey deserves a new trial.
The state Supreme Court justices ruled unanimously that the trial judge erred when he allowed the prosecutor to bring out Mr. Lindsey's history of arrests for misdemeanor crimes.
There was plenty of evidence for the jury to have reached the guilty verdict, the court noted. But the introduction of Mr. Lindsey's extensive number of arrests unfairly tainted him in the jurors' minds.
Mr. Lindsey's trial attorney, Jack E. Boone Jr., objected to the information and requested a mistrial. Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet denied both motions.
The Supreme Court rejected one of Mr. Lindsey's claims about trial error.
The prosecution was right to introduce evidence about the slaying of an 83-year-old grandmother who was shot to death while sleeping in her bed July 11, 1997.
The prosecution contended Mr. Lindsey wanted Mr. Taylor killed because he testified against Mr. Lindsey for the drive-by shooting death of the grandmother, Rosa Lee Barnes.
Mr. Lindsey and two others were tried and convicted of murder for Ms. Barnes' death.
But Mr. Lindsey's conviction in that case was reversed in October 1999 because the judge allowed the jury to hear improper evidence.
Mr. Lindsey was acquitted in his March 2000 retrial.
Mr. Taylor was killed almost two years later. The 38-year-old man was gunned down in a convenience store parking lot in front of several witnesses.
District Attorney Danny Craig said he would retry Mr. Lindsey for Mr. Taylor's slaying.