CARSON CITY — A Henderson man sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for the slaying of his girlfriend’s 6-week-old son will get a new trial, the Nevada Supreme Court said in an opinion issued Thursday.
A three-judge panel of the court reversed Rayshaun Coleman’s murder conviction because the District Court erred by refusing to permit two defense witnesses to testify at his trial.
A jury in 2011 found Coleman guilty of first-degree murder for the slaying of Tristin Michaels Hilburn, who was found dead with burns on his body. Coleman was watching the boy for his girlfriend, Christal Hilburn-Gaynor, at the time.
Coleman has maintained his innocence. He argued that the wounds were inflicted by Hilburn-Gaynor’s mother or someone associated with her, according to court documents.
The two defense witnesses were to testify about statements made by Hilburn-Gaynor that she and the boy suffered burns while cooking methamphetamine.
A medical examiner determined Tristin’s death was due to head injuries and burns with starvation contributing to his death.
Meanwhile, Hilburn-Gaynor pleaded guilty to child abuse charges and was sentenced to probation. However, her probation was revoked for drug use and she is serving 3- to 7 1/2 years in prison.
Review-Journal writer Francis McCabe contributed to this report. Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-687-3900. Follow him on Twitter @seanw801.