The U.S. Supreme Court said today it will decide if a convicted California killer deserves a new trial because the victim’s family members wore photo buttons at his trial, reports the Associated Press. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit had voided Mathew Musladin’s conviction and life sentence in the death of his estranged wife’s fiance, on grounds that the jury might have been swayed by the buttons.
Musladin contends he shot Tom Studer in self-defense. 9th Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt said the buttons sent the message that Studer was the victim and Musladin the attacker. Three Studer family members wore buttons daily at the two-week trial, sitting behind the prosecution and near the jury. The buttons were two-to-four inches with no words, only the picture of Studer.