Appeal court upholds verdict in New Orleans murder

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NEW ORLEANS — On June 21, 2015, New Orleans firefighters and police found a body inside of a burning car in New Orleans East. It was 31-year-old Lindsay Nichols.

Now the Louisiana 4th Circuit Court of Appeal is upholding the conviction of one of the men arrested for Nichols’ death.

In September of 2018, a jury deliberated into the night to find Troy Varnado guilty of the murder and kidnapping. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Earlier that same month, another defendant in the case, Thayon Samson, pleaded guilty to charges of kidnapping, obstruction of justice, and solicitation of murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeal judges reached a unanimous decision to reject Varnado’s appeal. At the time of his conviction, Louisiana law did not require a unanimous jury verdict. In 2018, voters in the state approved a constitutional amendment requiring unanimous verdicts in felony crime trials.

Varnado also challenged the evidence in the case and the manner in which he was charged, saying the kidnapping and murder charges constituted double jeopardy.

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