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Indiana high court orders retrial for man charged in South Bend killing

Kyle Doroszko (Provided Photo/Indiana Department of Correction)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — The Indiana Supreme Court has granted a new trial for a man convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the fatal 2019 shooting of another man outside a northern Indiana bar.

Kyle Doroszko, 22, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to 12½ years in prison in the April 2019 killing of Traychon Taylor, 19, near a South Bend bar.

The shooting happened after Taylor and some friends arranged to buy marijuana from Doroszko, but instead tried rob him. Doroszko fatally shot Taylor during a struggle, and has maintained that he acted in self-defense.

Doroszko appealed his May 2021 conviction, and while the Indiana Court of Appeals agreed that St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Sanford had violated the state’s rules governing jury questioning, it ruled that the matter was “harmless” and upheld the conviction.

But in Thursday’s ruling, Indiana’s five Supreme Court Justices agreed in granting Doroszko a new trial after finding that Sanford improperly denied Doroszko’s attorneys the opportunity to question prospective jurors, the South Bend Tribune reported.

The lack of opportunity to ask jurors open-ended questions deprived Doroszko of the right to a fair and impartial jury given that his defense centered on self-defense claims, the court found.

The justices wrote that the trial court “not only denied Doroszko the opportunity to conduct his own examination, it also inadequately examined the prospective jurors on controversial legal principles relevant to his claim of self-defense.”