Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 | 9:45 a.m.
CARSON CITY — A federal appeals court has ruled the rights of a Las Vegas man convicted of murder may have been violated and returned the case to the state courts for more hearings.
Clarence H. Elliot, 73, was convicted of the first-degree murder of his wife, Barbara Turner-Elliot, who disappeared Feb. 19, 1996, after leaving work. Her body was found several months later. She had been shot four times.
The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the jury was improperly instructed regarding the elements of first-degree murder.
The appeals court sent the case back to the District Court to determine if the error impacted the case.
The Nevada Supreme Court in 2008 said the conviction of Elliot was “based solely on circumstantial evidence and not overwhelmingly strong circumstantial evidence at that.” But it upheld the conviction.