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Mid-Missouri murderer asks for new trial

A Mid-Missouri murderer convicted for shooting another man to death during a drug deal is fighting his conviction.

Domionte Cheatum’s appeal lawyer filed an appeal Monday asking for a new trial and his murder conviction reversed.

Cheatum was convicted by a jury of second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action for 2013 shooting death of Anthony Unger.

His lawyer, Ellen Flottman, argued in her appeal that the problems began before trial even started, when Cheatum filed an appeal for a speedy trial but the prosecutors requested a continuance, delaying it.

While waiting for his trial to begin, Cheatum asked for a dismissal because of the delay, but it was denied. Flottman said this denial was an error of the court.

During the investigation and trial, the two main witnesses who were also at the drug deal, Joycelynn Brown and Samuel Butler, changed their story several times. Brown originally pointed to a different triggerman, but after police found Cheatum’s handprint on the car where the drug deal and shooting took place, she admitted it was Cheatum that shot Unger six times.

When confronted by the defense about the changing stories, the prosecutor replied that it was odd Cheatum didn’t try to explain where he was during the murder. Cheatum’s lawyer argued this is shifting the burden of proof and making reference of Cheatum’s failure to testify, which in turn prejudiced the jury.

There is no word yet on when an appeal’s court will rule on this appeal.

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