MARYLAND

Gary Smith retrial: Jury deliberations continue in ex-Ranger's retrial

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A jury in Rockville is pouring over evidence in the retrial of a former Army Ranger charged with killing his roommate.

Last year, an appeals court threw out Gary Smith's 2006 conviction.

Soon, Smith will learn whether he is a free man or if he will return to prison.

Michael McQueen was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head in the Gaithersburg apartment he shared with Smith.

 Following his death, Smith changed his account on how his roommate died, claiming McQueen committed suicide.

He also told investigators he wasn't home, but later admitted he was there at the time of McQueen's death. Smith says he loaded his gun and left it near his roommate. After McQueen was shot, Smith said he panicked and took the gun, tossing it.

During the retrial, prosecutors painted Smith as a cold-blooded killer whose lies prove his guilt.

But defense attorneys say he was a scared former Army Ranger fresh from Afghanistan who reacted badly when he found his friend and fellow Ranger dead. They claim he was frightened about what would happen to him if investigators discovered McQueen had used his gun.

In 2008, Smith was convicted of a form of second degree murder, which didn't require prosecutors to prove he intended to kill. An additional gun charge netted Smith 35 years in prison.

But an appellate court judge threw out the conviction, because the judge during the original trial refused to allow testimony pertaining to McQueen's state of mind following a DUI arrest shortly before his death.

Jury deliberations will continue Wednesday.

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