INDIANAPOLIS – Court records shed new light on what led to a murder charge being dropped against a man accused of killing an Indianapolis store clerk in 2018.
The dismissal marks the second murder case to be dropped in Marion county in the last two weeks.
An argument with a customer at a Shell station on Sherman in May 2018 led to the clerk, Sheriff Jallow, being ambushed in the parking lot and shot to death. Jallow was a father to three young kids.
According to the affidavit, police arrested Antonio Eubanks for the murder after a key witness identified him as the gunman.
Court records now show that witness only came forward 10 weeks after the shooting on the same day a warrant was issued for his arrest on a probation violation. The lead IMPD detective then interviewed and released the witness back on the streets despite the active warrant.
“I can’t imagine a set of facts that would justify those actions by a police officer,” said attorney John Tompkins.
Attorney Tompkins isn’t connected to the case, but says allowing a witness to remain free on a warrant was a clear violation of a court order. Tompkins had some harsh criticism for the way the detective handled the key witness leading to the murder case being dismissed.
“Every bit of the training they have says don’t do it this way. Do it the right way,” said Tompkins. “Apparently the officer here didn’t feel there would be any accountability for those unlawful actions.”
A motion filed a day before the case was dismissed claims the same detective later helped the key witness have his warrant recalled and had him placed on home detention at a hotel which was paid for by the state.
After being given that leniency, the witness apparently fell back into drug addiction. His mother told prosecutors he has been on a heroin binge and can’t be located.
As a result, the state moved to dismiss the murder charge against Eubanks.
“Both sides have to deal with these flawed witnesses and that’s why it’s so important detectives follow the rules,” said Tompkins.
Recently, Marion County prosecutors were forced to drop murder charges against two men accused of a different deadly shooting in 2018 after they were unable to locate an essential witness.
Both cases could be refiled if the witness issues can be resolved and Tompkins did offer some praise for how the prosecutor handled the case.
“The attorneys are doing everything the right way. They’re making it public and putting a light on it, so everyone knows what’s going on,” said Tompkins. “The prosecutor is doing the smart thing in dropping the murder case because there’s no statute of limitations and he can always refile this if things get straightened out.”