WESLEY CHAPEL — Edward Keith Stoddard, convicted last year of killing a man he thought stole his PlayStation 3 and other property, won a new trial Friday.
The Second District Court of Appeal cited a Florida Supreme Court ruling in another case that found problems with the instruction jurors are read about the crime of manslaughter. Because Stoddard's jury heard that instruction — he was charged with first-degree murder but manslaughter was included as a lesser crime on the jury form — he was granted a new trial.
Authorities say Stoddard, now 31, shot and killed his neighbor Doug Abrams in front of a friend's Angus Valley home on April 23, 2008 because he believed Abrams had burglarized his house.
Stoddard testified that he acted in self-defense, but he was convicted in January 2010 of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.