NEW INFORMATION: Alan Jones’ Appeal in Murder of Erin Maxwell is Argued Today in Rochester

UPDATE, 11:30 AM: Arguments are complete before the State Appellate Division in Rochester.

Our reporter tells us that the justices had tough questions for Oswego County District Attorney Greg Oakes on the decision to only charge Alan Jones with a murder charge that required the jury to find there was depraved indifference to human life. Oakes said that the justices were simply playing devil’s advocate.

Jones’s lawyer, John Cirando, argued that the judges could not order a new trial for Jones because of the limit placed on the murder charge. He believes the judges can only either uphold the original verdict and sentence or overturn the verdict and set Jones free without a second trial.

Jones’s mother, Lynn Maxwell, was in court for the arguments. She declined comment.

A full story from our reporter, complete with photos, will be filed later today.

Erin Maxwell.
Erin Maxwell.

The murder of Erin Maxwell returns to court this morning for the first time in nearly three years.

Alan Jones, Maxwell’s stepbrother, is serving 25 years to life in prison after a jury concluded he acted with depraved indifference to human life when he murdered Maxwell in her town of Palermo bedroom in 2008.

Maxwell died of asphyxiation, age 11. The prosecution argued successfully that Jones strangled Maxwell with a rope. The defense argued Maxwell hung herself.

Shortly after 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, lawyer John Cirando will argue before the state Appellate Division court in Rochester that Jones did not receive a fair trial and that the evidence does not show there was depraved indifference.

Cirando is a Syracuse lawyer who argued cases before the Appellate Division as a prosecutor for the Onondaga County District Attorney’s office before leaving for private practice.

Oswego County District Attorney Greg Oakes will argue the state’s case.

The Appellate Division is the state’s second-highest court.

Each man will have 10 minutes to argue his case before a panel of judges. There will be no decision today. The judges will issue a written decision later.

Oswego County has a reporter at today’s arguments and will update the story during the day.