The state's highest court has overturned a first degree murder conviction against a New Bedford man.

Jonathon Niemic was found guilty in 2012 in the fatal stabbing of Michael Correia of Fairhaven outside a soup kitchen on Purchase Street in October, 2010.

In a ruling posted on its website, the Supreme Judicial Court says the verdict was overturned because the prosecution made improper arguments to the jury during the trial, and the judge failed to properly instruct the jury about what the state needed to prove in order to obtain a first degree murder conviction.

In the ruling, the SJC said the state could either seek a retrial or accept a reduction of the verdict to manslaughter. A spokesman for the District Attorney told the Standard Tmes, the office will likely seek a retrial.

Niemic remains behind bars at MCI-Norfolk.