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Fayette Co. man should be freed, not tried again for killing, attorney argues

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 2:15 p.m.
 

A Fayette County man who admitted to stabbing and killing a waitress in 1987 should be let out of prison and not face a new trial because his conviction was overturned due to prosecutorial misconduct, the man's attorney argues in his latest appeal.

A Fayette County jury in 1988 convicted Mark David Breakiron, 52, formerly of Hopwood, of the homicide and robbery of Saundra Marie Martin, 24.

Breakiron's defense was that his assault and theft weren't premeditated.

U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer overturned his conviction and death sentence in 2011 after finding that prosecutors withheld evidence that would have cast doubt on a jailhouse snitch's testimony.

Breakiron lost state appeals claiming the county couldn't retry him due to double jeopardy. The state Supreme Court in February refused to hear his appeal.

His federal appeal filed Friday argues that U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert B. Mitchell should block the new trial and order Breakiron's release because of the prosecution's “pervasive pattern of misconduct,” according to documents filed by Samuel J.B. Angell, a federal public defender.

Martin was working at Shenanigan's Lounge in German Township to pay for dental hygienist classes.

She was closing the business for the night on March 24, 1987, when Breakiron attacked her, took her purse and the bar's receipts and drove her to his grandparents' house in South Union, where he tortured and killed her, according to police.

Police found her body in a stream near the grandparents' home, blood stains in the bed of his pickup truck and a hunting knife under the front seat.

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