Md. appellate court reverses first-degree murder conviction in 2012 Carroll tavern shooting

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ANNAPOLIS, Maryland — Maryland's second-highest appellate court has reversed the murder conviction of a Westminster man stemming from a 2012 shooting outside a tavern.

A three-judge panel of the Court of Special Appeals on Monday reversed 26-year-old Jacob Bircher's convictions on first-degree murder and other charges for fatally shooting a man and wounding another outside an Eldersburg tavern.

The court found that a Carroll County judge erroneously instructed the jury on a legal concept called "transferred intent." The appellate court says the instruction introduced a theory of intent that didn't fit the state's theory of the crime.

The ruling doesn't affect Bircher's convictions for assault and other charges in the same incident. It's unclear how the ruling will affect Bircher's sentence of life in prison.

Prosecutors haven't said if they'll appeal the decision.

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