States attempt to prevent new murder trial denied
The man convicted in a brutal 1997 killing may be one step closer to getting a new trial after the state’s latest attempt to appeal a judge’s decision was denied.
In September, Circuit Judge Markley Dennis granted Wesley Max Myers, 53, a chance to try his case again based on new evidence as well as rights violations during Myers’ original trial. In October, the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office appealed that decision, but Dennis upheld it in November.
Myers is serving a 30-year sentence after a Charleston County jury found him guilty in 2001 of killing 36-year-old Teresa Haught in the bar she managed on Montague Avenue in North Charleston.
According to court records, when the state appealed Dennis’ ruling, it argued there were errors and omissions in descriptions of several witnesses’ testimony that Dennis based his decision on. Dennis struck down that argument and upheld his ruling that Myers’ constitutional rights were violated when he was not present during all critical stages of the trial.
He also reiterated that Myers is entitled to a new trial because of newly discovered evidence. According to the ruling, DNA technology, which did not exist at the time of the trial, shows that hair found in Haught’s hand was not Myers’, as was originally presented through testimony of a SLED examiner.
Haught’s body was found on March 13, 1997, inside the Mill Inn bar. She had been beaten to death with a wine carafe and the bar had been set on fire. So far, Myers has served more than 11 years in prison for the crime.
The latest ruling doesn’t necessarily mean Myers will get a new trial. The state can appeal Dennis’ decision with the state Supreme Court. A spokesman for the S.C. Attorney General’s Office was not sure if a decision had been made to move forward with that appeal.
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.