Charges Dropped Against Homicide Suspect - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Charges Dropped Against Homicide Suspect

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29-year-old Michael James entered the Erie County Courthouse facing criminal charges of homicide.

But just 10 minutes later, he left central court on Wednesday...the case dismissed.

James was originally charged in the July shooting death, of 25-year-old Teverous "Gooney" Williams.  The case was originally delayed last week, after a key witness--identified as Chris Barnes--refused to testify.  But after he failed to show up to court on Wednesday, Judge Joseph Lefaiver had no other choice but to dismiss the case.

"What's particularly sad about this is not only that it was a murder case, but this witness was suppose to be the victim's best friend," said Erie County First Assistant District Attorney Bob Sambroak.  "Where I come from, best friends don't run from what they're suppose to do."

But according to James' Attorney Gene Placidi, justice has been served.

"Obviously, I think it was the right decision to make," said Placidi.  "This case has been pending since July.  I think the judge made it clear last Friday here that if the case didn't go forward today, he didn't say he'd dismiss all the charges, but I think everybody understood that."

James is still being held on $25,000 bond on other gun charges.  But his family tells us, they have every intention to bail him out.

A second main originally charged in the case, identified as 25-year-old Cedis Martin, was also in court with James.  He had a charge of conspiracy to commit kidnapping dismissed.

There's currently a warrant out for Barnes arrest for contempt of court. 


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