MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Charges have been dropped against a man involved in a deadly shooting in Miami Gardens.
A new close-out memorandum obtained by CBS4 from the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office says the inability to get witness cooperation doomed the case and says the state cannot prove the case beyond all reasonable doubt.
Lindsay Graves, 25, had been charged with murder and aggravated battery in connection to the April 15, 2013, shooting.
He was one of four people inside a car, along with 28-year old James Nelson, when an argument began.
Police said they were driving to Nelson’s home in the 2900-block of NW 157th Street when two of the people in the car started fighting. At one point a gun and knife came out.
Nelson died of a gunshot wound. Graves reportedly stabbed someone in the car. That person was taken to the Ryder Trauma Center where they were treated for multiple stab wounds.
The state decided not to proceed after witnesses, including those in the car, refused to cooperate in the investigation.
“The state can’t prosecute cases if people aren’t willing to testify,” Judge Miguel de la O told Nelson’s family members who were present at the hearing.
“Everyone involved in the case didn’t do their job because an innocent boy is dead and two criminals are free to live,” said James Nelson’s sister Kimberly Nelson.
“This was a case where he was trying to keep two friends from fighting throughout the night,” she told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. “They were committing a crime together and he was killed.”
Another of Nelson’s sisters said she couldn’t believe it when she learned that charges were going to be dropped.
“The DNA is the witness so that is, you know, they are trying to cover something up. We don’t know what went wrong. We just need justice for my brother. That’s all we are asking for,” said Emily Nelson.
The Nelson sisters say they are not done fighting for justice.
“We don’t understand how it became a dismissal. We want justice. If anybody seen this, if anybody knows anybody that was involved in the case, and they know something, please contact the family,” said Kimberly Nelson. “It doesn’t stop here. We will pursue as far as we can to get justice for our brother.”
The Nelson sisters say their next move is to go to civil court where they plan to sue over the loss of their brother.