CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has agreed to hear arguments regarding a 1987 murder conviction overturned by Cabell Circuit Judge Alfred E. Ferguson.
A jury convicted Phillip Anthony Ward in 1988 for the murder of Carol Carter, a Wendy’s night manager who lived in Milton. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Former West Virginia State Police serologist Fred Zain had testified to forensic evidence at the scene of the crime.
In 1993, Zain’s work was discredited, after an investigation found that he had lied on several reports and in court testimony. Since then, more than 100 convicted defendants have filed for new trials.
In Ward’s case, the jury ruled that Carter was beaten with a concrete block in Wendy’s after her last co-worker had left. A large sum of money was also missing from the safe at the restaurant.
Last September, Ferguson ruled that Ward was entitled to a new trial after his attorney argued the previous year against the Zain’s trustworthiness.
Cabell County Prosecuting Attorney Sean “Corky” Hammers appealed the ruling to the state Supreme Court. The state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Oct. 19.