1:27 PM

In a surprising move the judge who presided over the murder trial of Thomas Naumann threw out the jury's May 1, 2009, first-degree murder conviction of the Nixa man.

Judge John Moody ruled on a post conviction motion filed by defense attorney Dean Price, "the verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree, entered by the jury in this cause is hereby set aside and held for naught. Further, upon motion by the Defendant and for good cause shown, the Court hereby finds Defendant guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, of murder in the second degree."
Judge Moody was brought in from Wright County to preside over the case after Christian County Circuit Court Judge Mark Orr recused himself from the case.

Naumann was found guilty of helping Crystal Broyles inject former Macon County prosecutor David Masters with a lethal dose of cocaine back in 2005 ater a fight over rent money and unwanted sexual advances towards Broyles.
Jurors had the option of finding Naumann guilty of the lesser included offense of second-degree murder at the trial, but returned with the first-degree conviction after a little more than two hours of deliberations.

In video testimony presented during the week long trial, Nauman told Missouri State Highway Patrol investigator Sgt. Dan Nash that it was Broyles who administered the doses of cocaine while he was in the living room of the house. He told Nash, "she kept coming back in the room saying he won't die, he won't die....so I told her to give him more." Dr. Keith Norton testified at Naumann's trial that Masters had forty times the lethal limit of cocaine in his bloodstream when he died.

Broyles, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on the second day of her 2006 murder trial and was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Chrisitan County Prosecutor Ron Cleek (a.) says, "we had a jury who worked hard to make a very difficult decision, and with the stroke of a pen, the Judge rendered it useless." Cleek adds, "I respect Judge Moody, but I think he made the wrong decision."

Price (b.), who drafted the motion with help of his co-counsel Tim Cisar says, "the prosecutor and the jury got it wrong....the judge got it right, and I'm thankful."

The only sentence that Naumann (who was originally scheduled to be sentenced yesterday) could have received on the first-degree murder conviction was life without the possibility of parole. Now the judge has the option of sentencing Naumann from10 to 30 years in prison. Some court watchers believe that Judge Moody will sentence Naumann to an identical 13 year sentence like his accomplice, Crystal Broyles.

Nauman is scheduled to be sentenced on August 3rd in Christian County.