A Summit County man who was found guilty of manslaughter in 2005 but later had his conviction overturned has had a new charge filed against him. Court proceedings for his second case began Monday.
Erik Kurtis Low was charged in 2003 with first-degree felony murder. He and two other men had been consuming cocaine at a friend's apartment in Park City on May 8. Low claimed he was harassed and teased by the other two throughout the evening.
That teasing apparently boiled over when Low received a wedgie by 38-year-old Michael Hirschey. Low responded by shooting Hirschey twice, killing him. Low claimed it was self-defense.
In 2005, Low was found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter and sentenced to the Utah State Prison. But in July of this year, the Utah Supreme Court ruled the jury should not have been given the option of convicting him on a lesser manslaughter charge based on extreme emotional distress because Low's state of mind was never introduced in the trial.
The decision meant prosecutors would not be allowed to file first-degree murder charges again because of the double jeopardy rule.
On Sept. 12, the Summit County Attorney's Office filed a new charge of second-degree felony manslaughter. A scheduling conference was held Monday for the new case. A court order releasing Low from the custody of the Utah Department of Corrections, where he has been since his conviction, was signed Tuesday. Third District Judge Bruce Lubeck, in Summit County, ordered Low returned to the Summit County Jail and held on $250,000 bail during the course of the new case.
Low's next court hearing is scheduled for Monday.Low was previously convicted of a felony in 1991 when he was dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps, according to court documents. In February 2005, Low was convicted of a misdemeanor weapons charge.