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Murder charge tossed, man freed after witnesses fail to show

June 29, 2021 GMT

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A 2018 capital murder charge has been dismissed after the only eyewitnesses failed to show up for the trial, authorities said.

Terry Lee Skanes, 21, was released from the Jefferson County Jail Monday afternoon, Al.com reported.

Skanes had been charged in the Sept. 18, 2018, shooting death of Marqueze Green, 21. Police say Green showed up at a Birmingham hospital, suffering from a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital.

Green and another man were sitting in a car when someone in another vehicle opened fire on them, investigators said. Skanes had also been charged with attempted murder of the other man in the vehicle. That person was shot in the arm and survived.

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Investigators said they did not believe the shooting was random. Rather, they believed the victims were targeted.

Skanes’ trial was set to begin Monday before Jefferson County Circuit Judge Stephen Wallace. But the only two eyewitnesses failed to appear in court, Deputy District Attorney Warren Brooks said. One of them was the state’s key witness, who would not meet with prosecutors prior to the trial, the news site reported.

“As a result of their failure to cooperate, the state was unable to move forward with this case and seek justice for the family of Marquez Green,” Brooks said.

The judge dismissed the murder and attempted murder charges without prejudice, which means charges could be brought against Skanes again if additional evidence or witnesses emerge.