Appeals court upholds Alpha man's second-degree murder conviction

Alfred Saario takes the stand in his murder trial, Aug. 17, 2017 (WLUC image).

CRYSTAL FALLS, Mich. (WLUC) - An Alpha man's conviction and prison sentence for second-degree murder will stand, under a ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals.

In June 2016, Alfred Saario shot and killed his 29-year-old step-daughter Jamie James before turning the rifle on himself in a failed suicide attempt. Saario now has permanent throat damage from the gunshot wound.

An Iron County Circuit Court jury convicted Saario in Aug. 2017, and he was sentenced to serve concurrent sentences of 25 to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, and 7 years and 1 month to 40 years in prison for the intentional discharge of a firearm in a dwelling causing death.

Saario challenged the instructions the jury was given and his trial counsel's effectiveness. The appeals court disagreed with Saario, in a ruling released Tuesday.

Saario argued that the trial court erroneously instructed the jury by referring to crimes for which he was not on trial. Saario contended that the trial court’s error prejudiced him.

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