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Retrial Begins Against Convicted Killer of Hagerstown Officer

Nearly 38 years after his conviction, the retrial began Monday against a local known escapist and convicted killer of a Hagerstown police officer. 
WHAG NEWS- Nearly 38 years after his conviction, the retrial began Monday against a local known escapist and convicted killer of a Hagerstown police officer. 

Court officials say Merle Unger, now in his 60's, was serving a life sentence for the 1975 murder of Police Officer Donald Kline. 

Maryland Court of Appeals had overturned the original verdict last year, stating Unger was denied due process of law guaranteed by the 14th amendment.

In the original trial a judge told the jury that his instructions were "advisory" and that they were not bound by them. The Court of Appeals ruled the judge's instructions to the jury on the law are binding, not advisory. 

In the Dec. 13, 1975 incident, police say Kline, who was off-duty, came upon a robbery at Kim's Korner on South Mulberry Street. Kline chased Unger into an alley and shots were fired. Kine died of his wounds and Unger was found wounded in a nearby house. 

Court officials say while Unger was serving his life sentence, he developed a long history of escapes, fleeing from Maryland, Pennsylvania and Florida prisons. 

Washington County court officials say they intend to include original transcripts from the 1976 trial in court. 
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