Suspect Escapes Murder Rap, But NotRobbery Charge

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MUSKEGON, Mich. - (10/27/04) -- A 22-year-old man who narrowlyescaped murder charges last month was convicted Tuesday ofconspiring to rob Westshore FCU May 14, 2002, but not until anemergency plea to the state appeals court cleared up charges forthe jury. Ricardo Blackshire was found guilty of the conspiracycharges after the appellate court clarified for the jury it couldvote to convict the defendant even if the armed robbery did nottake place because Blackshire accidentally shot himself in the legwith a concealed sawed-off shotgun on his way inside the creditunion. Defense attorneys argued the conspiracy charge could notstand because Blackshire had already blown off his calf and nolonger possessed the shotgun by the time the crime was to haveoccurred. Tuesday's conviction comes a month after murder chargeswere dropped against Blackshire in the March 2002 slaying of ayoung woman.

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