VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota Supreme Court has been asked to reverse a murder conviction in the death of a toddler.

The court heard arguments Monday in the case of Joseph Patterson. He was convicted in 2015 of second-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend's 2-year-old son, Tyrese Ruffin. The defense argues the jury in Patterson's trial was unfairly biased by the state. Patterson's attorneys say there's no evidence Patterson "snapped" and hit Ruffin, as the state had argued.

The Argus Leader says the defense thinks the state should not have been allowed to talk about times when Patterson spanked or hit kids. The state said Patterson disciplined Ruffin "his way."

The high court will issue a decision later in the Lincoln County case

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