Here’s why prosecutors dropped gun charges

No one willing to testify, only one witness, no DNA evidence — these are a few of the reasons that Mecklenburg County prosecutors have dismissed gun charges in recent years. Some of those defendants were later accused of murder.

Here are examples of those dismissals:

Anthony Walker

Anthony Walker Mecklenburg Sheriff

Charges: Armed robbery, conspiracy to armed robbery

Description: In 2017, two men barged into a southwest Charlotte apartment, pointing guns at a man and two women. They stole a Sony PlayStation, watch, laptop, shoes and cellphones, records show. One of the gunmen fired his weapon. A victim identified Walker as one of the offenders and said she went to school with him, records state. All three victims identified him by previous mugshots, according to court reports.

Why prosecutors dismissed the charge: “The identification of the defendant by the victim is not enough to proceed without further evidence of the defendant’s guilt. Without more, the State cannot succeed at trial,” a prosecutor wrote in a court document explaining the reason for the dismissal.

A year later: Walker was charged with shooting and killing Daimeon Johnson in north Charlotte on April 28. He’s in jail, awaiting trial.

Demahj Wright and Oyontai Bostic

Demahj Wright Mecklenburg Sheriff

Oyontai Bostic Mecklenburg Sheriff

Charge: Armed robbery

Description: Wright and Bostic were charged with using a handgun to rob a man of a car and iPhone in 2016. According to court records, the victim was sitting in his truck when the gunman approached. The victim told police that he might have been set up by a woman he was with. Police arrested the woman and she implicated Wright and Bostic, records state.

Why prosecutors dismissed the charge: “That is the only evidence that the State has against this defendant to show that he committed this crime. The defendant made no admissions, no line-up was presented to the victim which included this defendant, there are no witnesses, and there is no scientific evidence tying this defendant to this crime,” a prosecutor wrote in explaining the reason for dismissing the charge.

Less than two years later: Wright and Bostic were charged with shooting and killing Tevin Snow near the University City area in June 2018. They are awaiting trial.

Adrian McLeod

Adrian McLeod Mecklenburg Sheriff

Charge: Possession of a firearm by a felon

Description: McLeod had previously been convicted of at least nine other felonies when, in March 2015, police said they found him with a handgun and charged him with possession of a firearm by a felon.

Why prosecutors dismissed the charge: Mecklenburg prosecutors dismissed the possession of a firearm charge because “the only witness who can testify that the Defendant possessed a gun is the pregnant mother of his children. The state has no realistic expectation that she will testify against him or that a jury will convict him of a serious felony based solely on her testimony.”

Three months later: McLeod shot and killed 34-year-old Kynyatta Tshiona. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2017.

Darius Perry and Jlan Reynolds

Darius Perry Mecklenburg Sheriff

Charge: Possession of a stolen firearm

Description: During a search of a home in 2014, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police found a .45-caliber handgun in the freezer, according to a police affidavit. The homeowner said she didn’t know about the gun. One person in the house told police, “Whatever y’all find is mine.” Perry, who was also in the home, initially said the gun was his, but later denied it, according to the police affidavit.

Why prosecutors dismissed the charge: “The gun was located in a freezer in a home occupied by 10 people. The State can not prove that either Darius Perry or Jlan Reynolds was in possession of the weapon — nor can it show they knew the gun to be stolen. DNA has been requested in these cases and should the DNA come back showing the defendants handled the gun, the State may reassess its case at that time,” prosecutor Mary Elledge wrote in a notice of dismissal.

Two years later: Perry was charged with shooting and killing Demonte Perkins in August 2017. Perry is awaiting trial.

Deshawn McDowell

Deshawn McDowell NC DPS

Charges: Four charges of armed robbery

Description: Police charged McDowell and three co-defendants with a string of armed robberies in November 2013.

Why prosecutors dismissed the charge: Mecklenburg prosecutors dismissed the charges in March 2014 because “the only evidence against the defendant is the uncorroborated claims made by another person arrested by police for the incident that the defendant was present,” wrote prosecutor David Wallace in a notice of dismissal.

Two months later: McDowell shot and killed 18-year-old Ajaewan Jones. He later pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to a minimum of 59 months in prison. He is scheduled to be released next year.