In a Supreme Court ruling released Thursday, the justices’ majority ruling said a state prosecutor’s petition for that re-hearing was just rehashing arguments previously made.
“Simply put, the state just disagrees with the majority’s conclusion” in the overturned murder conviction, the justices wrote. The state still has the option to hold a new murder trial in the decades-old case.
A spokesperson for Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said prosecutors continue to prepare for that trial.
Tempest was found guilty by a jury in 1992 for the beating and strangling murder ten years before of 22-year-old Doreen Picard in Woonsocket. In July of this year, the state Supreme Court granted him a new trial. He was released from prison in September 2015, after his murder conviction was overturned in July 2015, and has been on home confinement ever since.
Tempest’s defense attorney Michael Kendall said on Thursday that he and Tempest “are very pleased” that the Supreme Court upheld the early decision.
“Raymond now has three opinions from Rhode Island courts that have all found that the state suppressed critical evidence of innocence from the original trial,” Kendall said. “He’s been vindicated.”
That evidence was statements from eyewitness Donna Carrier that were made just days before the trial. She said Tempest’s brother Gordon, a Woonsocket detective, hid the murder weapon — and made comments about Tempest’s children, even though the Tempest family didn’t live near Carrier until 1983, a year after the murder.
Tempest has claimed he was framed by Woonsocket Police. When his murder conviction was overturned, a judge ruled that his constitutional rights were violated at the first trial.
“This isn’t about a technicality,” Kendall said. “This is about crucial evidence that would help prove his innocence that was suppressed by the prosecution.”