Witness No Show In Murder Case Frustrates Area Law Enforcement - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Witness No Show In Erie Murder Case Frustrates Area Law Enforcement

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More on a local murder case, where a judge is forced to drop homicide charges because a key witness in the case didn't show to testify.
Now, police and prosecutors are reacting.

In a case like this, a murder case, it's not easy for law enforcement to see charges dismissed.

29 year old Michael James was all smiles as he left the courtroom Wednesday afternoon.
A judge had no other choice but to drop homicide charges against him, after a key witness in the case, Chris Barnes, refused to show up to court to testify.
Police have charged James in the July shooting death of 25 year old Teverous Williams.

This is the latest in a string of violent crime cases, where a judge was forced to drop charges because witnesses or victims didn't show.
It's become very frustrating for area law enforcement.

"There's a lot of hard work and time and resources put into investigating a crime such as a homicide. and when you finally make that point when you can get enough evidence to change someone only to have it come apart in the courtroom, because a victim or witness fails to show up to testify on behalf of the commonwealth, it can be very frustrating." Said Erie Police Chief Steve Franklin.

"This is just ridiculous. It's just beyond ridiculous. This witness I don't know if he was intimated, if he really was intimidated or now, but what's particularly sad about this is not only that it was a murder case but this witness was supposed to be the victim's best friend." Said Assistant District Attorney, Bob Sambroak.

James is still being held on $25,000 dollars bond, on other charges.
Judge LeFavier tells us this is only the second time in his 25 year career he's had to toss a case like this.

But it's not over, there's a warrant out for Barnes' arrest on contempt of court for not showing up to testify.
Police are now looking for him.

The district attorney's office says there's no statute of limitations on a murder charge, so they will continue to pursue the case against James.

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