New trial in 2004 Baltimore slain children case

BALTIMORE (AP) - Maryland's highest court has ruled two Mexican immigrants serving life sentences for murdering three young relatives are entitled to a third trial because a Baltimore judge failed to show jury notes to their defense attorneys.

The Court of Appeals ruled Friday in a 4-3 decision. The court decided the state had not proven the judge's error did not influence the verdict against Policarpio Espinoza Perez and Adan Espinoza Canela.

Judge Clayton Greene Jr. wrote for the majority that the judge's error "deprived counsel of the opportunity to have input" into the court's response to the jury.

Three dissenting judges noted defense attorneys saw the judge's error and didn't object.

The May 2004 murders were shocking. Ten-year-old Alexis Espejo Quezada, 9-year-old Ricardo Espinoza Jr. and 8-year-old Lucero Espinoza were nearly beheaded.