A judge in upstate Virginia has thrown out the murder charges filed against a Leesburg man for lack of evidence. Authorities had filed first-degree murder charges against the 32-year-old man in connection with the shooting death of a 30-year-old man back in December. Also charged in the case is a 23-year-old woman. The judge has let those charges stand.
The decision by the judge came late last week. The determination appears to have been prompted by the fact that the only real evidence prosecutors claimed to have against the male suspect was the word of his alleged accomplice. No weapons charge was ever filed in the matter, apparently because investigators never recovered the weapon that was used in the shooting. That left nothing but the woman's word to tie the man to the case.
The shooting occurred late last December. The official report of the investigation says that the victim's body was found in his white SUV in the early evening hours that night. He had been shot five times. Three shell casings were found at the scene and police apparently believed they were from the murder weapon.
What appears to have led police to the male suspect was the story they elicited from the woman. They claim she told them that the male suspect had contacted her ahead of the shooting and asked her to get him a weapon. But there was never any evidence offered to show she did that.
Detectives say the woman also told them that she drove the male suspect to the victim's hometown of Sterling and heard three gun shots. But she said she didn't see the male suspect shoot anyone. And as noted, no murder weapon was ever recovered.
According to reports about the proceedings before the judge, it was an attempt on the part of the female suspect to have the first-degree murder charge against her reduced that led to the male suspect seeking to have the charge against him dismissed.
In the end, the judge approved the male suspect's motion.
Source: Loudoun Times, "First-degree murder charge dismissed against Leesburg man," Crystal Owens, May 24, 2013