Thu, July 15, 2004

Mom's sex fling gets admitted killer new trial

BECAUSE HIS mother had an affair with his lawyer, a New Jersey appeals court has overturned the conviction of a man who admitted he carjacked and killed a teacher in 1996. The court tossed out the conviction against Michael LaSane, 25, saying the sexual relationship amounted to "unethical conduct," although it might not have represented a traditional conflict of interest.

LaSane, who is serving a life sentence, will be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea in the murder of Kathleen Weinstein, 45, and ask for a trial.

Weinstein managed to tape 46 minutes of conversation after she was carjacked from a shopping plaza, before she was smothered in a wooded area.

The slaying drew national attention, becoming the basis for a 1996 episode of the NBC television drama Law and Order.

Prosecutors have 30 days to decide whether to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

LaSane, who prosecutors said committed the crime the day before his 17th birthday, had previously asked to withdraw his guilty plea and stand trial.