SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to review a lower court ruling that overturned the conviction of transient Richard Tuite for killing 12-year-old Stephanie Crowe in her Escondido home in 1998.
Monday's ruling by the nation's highest court means that Tuite could be in line for a new trial.
Tuite was convicted in 2004 and sentenced to 17 years in prison.
Last year, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the conviction, saying Tuite didn't get a fair trial because his lawyer should have been allowed to question a prosecution witness regarding a letter disparaging the work of a defense expert.
Stephanie was stabbed to death in her family home on Jan. 21, 1998. Escondido police charged her older brother, Michael, and two of his friends with murder, but those charges were dismissed on the eve of trial when the victim's DNA was found on clothing worn by Tuite.
Earlier this year, a judge found Michael Crowe factually innocent of the crime.