Court denies Saario’s appeal
IRON RIVER/LANSING—In August of 2017, Alfred Michael Saario was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2016 death of his stepdaughter Jamie James, as well as discharging a firearm in a building causing death.
The 68-year-old Alpha man was sentenced to 25 to 40 years in prison on the murder charge and 85 months to 40 years for discharging a firearm in a building causing death. The sentences were to run concurrently.
Saario appealed the verdict, but that appeal was denied by the Michigan Court of Appeals on Nov. 19. The appeal was based on Saario’s challenge to the trial court’s jury instructions and his trial counsel’s ineffectiveness.
According to the court’s opinion, Saario argued that the trial court erroneously instructed the jury by referring to crimes for which he was not on trial and that the trial court’s error prejudiced him.
The instruction to the jury read by Judge Mary Barglind during the trial stated:
“You have heard evidence that was introduced to show that the defendant committed a crime for which he is not on trial. If you believe this evidence, you must be very careful only to consider it for certain purposes. You may only think about whether this evidence tends to show that the defendant acted purposefully, that is, not by accident or mistake, or because he misjudged the situation….