LAS VEGAS (CN) – The Nevada Supreme Court on Thursday reversed the conviction of a former Clark County Republican Party treasurer who was sentenced to multiple terms of life in prison for allegedly hiring a hit man to kill his wife and father-in-law. John Chartier will get a new trial. The high court ruled that the Las Vegas district court incorrectly refused to separate Chartier’s trial from his co-defendant, David Wilcox, who was accused of carrying out the double murder in 2004.
“Chartier suffered unfair prejudice because the cumulative effect of the joint trial violated Chartier’s right to a fair trial by preventing the jury from making a reliable judgment as to his guilt or innocence,” according to the ruling.
Soon after the Supreme Court decision was made public Thursday, attorneys for CJ Stewart – OJ Simpson’s co-defendant in their current burglary and kidnapping case interrupted jury selection proceedings to ask again that the two men be tried separately.
Stewart’s attorneys have been requesting that since proceedings began. Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass has consistently rejected the request.
Chartier was convicted of hiring a hit man to kill his wife and father-in-law after the couple’s divorce and custody battle over their then-4-year-old son.
Rachel Bernat, 43, and Carlos Aragon, 65 were stabbed to death Aug. 18, 2004 in the driveway of their home. Both were barefoot and in pajamas, according to media reports.
Chartier sued his former criminal attorney, Anthony Sgro, in April, claiming Sgro missed several oral arguments and delegated work to another attorney at public cost while charging Chartier $75,000.
Chartier and his family then paid another $75,000 to hire Craig Mueller, who concluded the case.