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Man Faces 2nd Murder Trial

A Trinity County man will be retried for a murder after an appellate court reversed his conviction. 24-year-old Dakota Hayward was found guilty by a jury in 2015 for the killing of 32-year-old Billy Foster in January of 2014. Trinity County deputies had been sent to a home at Maude and Airport Roads in Trinity Center, where they found Foster dead inside the doorway of his home from a gunshot wound to his abdomen. The person who reported the shooting named Hayward. He was located at a relative’s home in Coffee Creek and arrested.  Hayward testified at his trial that he had gone to Foster’s home to confront him, but didn’t plan to shoot him. The jury apparently didn’t believe that as they deliberated for two-and-a-half hours and returned a guilty verdict for pre-meditated first degree murder. A judge sentenced Hayward to 50 years to life in prison. The appellate court decided that it was improper for the judge to bar toxicology evidence that showed Methamphetamine in Foster’s system because that could have clued the jury into believing Hayward’s claims that Foster had grabbed the gun. Trinity County DA Eric Heryford will try to prosecute Hayward again.