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Acquitted of murder, defendant gets 13-plus years of backup

La Plata, MD – Bruce Matthew Lyles Jr., 30 of Waldorf, may have escaped a lengthy jail sentence when he was acquitted in a stunning jury verdict of first-degree murder April 3, but he will still be in jail for a considerable amount of time.

Lyles was before Charles County Circuit Court Judge Amy J. Bragunier Monday, May 11 for violating probation on a previous charge.

Lyle was facing 13 years and six months of backup time on CDS charges from 2012. 

Defense attorney David Simpson had requested more time following the April acquittal to familiarize himself with the previous case, which Bragunier granted.

Charles County Assistant State’s Attorney Francis Granados told the court that the appropriate legal standard for violation of probation is for the state to prove by preponderance of the evidence, their case in asking that the defendant receive the full amount of backup time for the act which violated his probation—the killing of Michael Milstead.

“He may have been acquitted in the murder trial, but that is not controlling the state’s case here,” Granados explained.

Granados outlined all of the evidence presented in the trial in early April, citing more than 400 pieces of evidence and circumstantial evidence produced by the state which he claims clearly demonstrated—despite the jury’s decision—that Lyles murdered Milstead in cold blood.

Simpson said he found himself in the unusual position of crediting the state for the job they did during the trial.

“It’s an unusual situation,” he admitted, “I a case like this I find myself actually complimenting the state on the excellent job they did. It was one of the finest circumstantial cases I’ve seen in some time. But there were no eyewitnesses, no gun, no fingerprints. It took the jury less than three hours to decide my client was not guilty.”

Granados said Lyles had the motive, that he had been “punked” at a bar the night before the shooting, beaten so bad that five days later evidence of the beating was still apparent on his face. He was seeking payback for the beating he took, he said.

“Wounded pride can be a very dangerous thing,” Granados told the court. “The fact that the jury took less than three hours to render its verdict shouldn’t have an effect on this case today.”

The fact remains, he said, that when Lyles was arrested for the murder of Milstead, he was still under the conditions of his probation.

Lyles told the court that his probation had since expired, and he didn’t understand how he could still be charged when his probation was over.

“I’m still confused,” Lyles said. “I don’t know how I got violated.”

Granados retorted that, “he violated probation by killing another human being in cold blood.”

Bragunier handed down the remaining backup time, giving Lyles 13 years and six months of backup time at the Maryland Department of Corrections, with credit for 879 days already served.

Contact Joseph Norris at joe.norris@thebaynet.com

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