For now, Pennsylvania Superior Court has vacated the life sentence for an Erie man convicted in a 2016 homicide outside a west Erie bar.

At the very least, it means a new hearing in Erie County Court for Torriano Beard, 42.

In January 2017, Beard was convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Jermar Phillips, 35.

The crime happened the previous winter in a parking lot near a bar at W. 18 and Raspberry St.

A second suspect, Lavance Kirksey, entered a plea to third-degree murder for his role in the murder.

Assistant District Attorney Erin Connelly said Beard's statement was never used at trial. They intend to show evidence he gave it voluntarily.

If the court finds otherwise, Beard could be granted a new trial. He remains behind bars at a state prison near State College.