MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Under enhanced scrutiny, prosecutors admitted evidence in the case against a teenager accused in the shooting death of a well-known New York rabbi just didn’t hold up.
On Tuesday, the murder charge against 16-year-old DeAndre Charles was dropped.
The teen spent 11 months in jail after Rabbi Joseph Raksin was killed in a botched robbery while walking to synagogue in August 2014.
“No comments,” was all Charles could say outside of the courtroom with his family and attorney, who spoke on his behalf.
“When he got charged, right away we told them you don’t have a case,” defense attorney Adam Goodman said. “And we’re not saying that you just don’t have enough evidence like that closeout memo says. There was no evidence. Regardless of what a closeout memo says, there’s no evidence that he was involved in this case.”
According to the State Attorney’s closeout memo, the case fell apart for several reasons.
DNA evidence against Charles on gun parts found at the scene and on a car, possibly used in the crime, diminished with enhanced testing at the crime lab. Prosecutors also said cell phone records did not end up showing Charles’ phone in the area of the murder scene.
The defendant’s mother, Blair Charles, who always maintained her son was home at the time of the murder, said they are ready to move on with their lives.
“I really have no animosity against anybody right now,” she said. “I’m just glad my son is home with me and I am happy for my family.”
And although they are pleased with the outcome, the Charles family offered their sympathy for the victim.
“I feel for the Raksin family because, you know, as a parent, and someone in this community, I’d want justice for my family member, as well,” said Goodman. “And it’s unfortunate that they had to sit through this, and now not only did they have to sit through a year of these court hearings, but now they feel like they’ve basically been victimized all over again.”