Prosecutor wins appeal in murder tied to '99 farmhouse fire

LAPEER (AP) — A federal appeals court has overturned a key decision in the case of a Lapeer County man who claims a biased juror spoiled his right to a fair trial in the death of his wife.

David Balfour, now 78, is serving a no-parole sentence for killing his wife in 1999. Beverly Balfour’s body was discovered in bed after a fire at their farmhouse.

Balfour claims a juror was biased because she didn’t disclose that she personally knew some prosecutors. But in a 3-0 decision, an appeals court said a Lapeer County judge in 2013 sufficiently explored the issue and found there was no bias.

The decision is a victory for prosecutors. A Detroit federal judge had overturned Balfour’s conviction, saying the court hearing about juror bias was inadequate.