Suspect released in 2007 homicide case

April 08, 2008|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,Sun reporter

A 37-year-old man accused of killing two men in Brooklyn Park in August was freed from jail yesterday after Anne Arundel County prosecutors determined the case lacked enough evidence to move forward.

The district public defender yesterday questioned the state's initial decision to charge Shawn Lamont Weaver of Cherry Hill with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Dequincey Antonio Smith, 24, and Dontay Lamont Williams, 21, who were shot Aug. 28 in a home on Southerly Road.

Prosecutors said they hoped Weaver's arrest in November would encourage witnesses to come forward. But with a deadline looming to bring the case before a grand jury, little additional evidence had been uncovered, said Deputy State's Attorney William D. Roessler.

"We had witness testimony that put him at the scene, but that's all we had," Roessler said. "We don't know what happened inside [the home] specifically. We don't know if we have two shooters or one shooter, and we decided the case was just too serious to go forward without pinning down more information at this time."

William M. Davis, of the Anne Arundel County public defender's office, said prosecutors should not have arrested Weaver in hopes of building a case later. He called it "totally inappropriate."

"Merely being present at the scene of a crime is not a crime, and if that's what their evidence was, you really have to question their use of prosecutorial discretion," said Davis, whose office was to represent Weaver. "You shouldn't be taking people's liberties away with the hopes of building a case."

Kristin Fleckenstein, a spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office, said the county police department, state's attorney's office and a District Court commissioner all determined that there was probable cause to charge Weaver.

"We do not consider this case closed," she said.

One of the victims, Williams, was a key witness in a November 2006 killing in Brooklyn Park. His death came one month before the murder trial of 18-year-old Lamal Lamonte Wise was to begin. The case subsequently fell apart, and Wise was released.

Roessler, however, said that investigators have not found any evidence to connect Williams' death to his role as a witness.

justin.fenton@baltsun.com

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