Julian Valdez, Image courtesy Renville County

A Renville man, Julian Valdez, age 27, had his murder conviction reversed Monday after an appeals court said prosecutors had made a mistake in their arguments to the jury.

In Aug. 2021, Valdez and his step-brother were in their garage when they were approached by Pablo Gutierrez, age 31, of Renville. According to court documents, Gutierrez physically attacked Valdez’s step-brother. During the altercation, Valdez responded with a single shot that killed Gutierrez.

In May, 2022, Valdez was convicted in Renville County District Court of 2nd Degree Unintentional Murder, and sentenced to 150 months in prison.

This week, the appeals court judge ruled that prosecutors hadn’t explained to the Renville County jury that Valdez had a legal right to use “reasonable force” to aid another person who was being physically assaulted. Prosecutors had told the jury Valdez was legally required to retreat from danger if possible.

The appeals court has remanded Valdez for a new trial.