Appeals court tosses 1 conviction in skier beating

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VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) -- The Washington state appeals court has vacated the attempted-murder conviction of Michael D. Collins in the 2009 beating and robbery of a cross-country skier in southwest Washington's Skamania County.

The court upheld the Vancouver man's first-degree robbery conviction.

In a 3-0 opinion last week, the court said the 36-year-old Collins was convicted of a nonexistent crime -- attempted felony murder. Felony murder refers to a defendant killing someone in the course of committing a separate felony. Because felony murder has nothing to do with intent, the panel of judges ruled that it can't be an attempted crime.

Skier Kevin Tracey was left for dead but survived after three hikers found him.

The Columbian says the court's decision significantly reduces Collins' sentence, from nearly 25 years to possibly six years. He will return to Superior Court later to be resentenced.

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Information from: The Columbian, http://www.columbian.com