INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis family is seeking justice for a young man who was murdered five years ago this week.
Police were called to an apartment complex in the 3800 block of Bennett Drive in September 2015. That’s when an apparent argument during a late-night party turned deadly and left 19-year-old Gregory Paffumi shot to death.
It’s a loss his mother still mourns.
“It makes me feel empty because I can’t see him. The only way I see him is the picture on his tombstone and it’s still unbelievable,” said Trina Paffumi.
Following the shooting, one witness spoke up and helped police arrest Daniel Roseboro, but court records show just over 4 months after being charged with murder, the case was dismissed because the key witness moved to Texas and decided not to testify.
“It angers me because we had him and no one would stand up for what they saw,” said Trina.
The case, sadly, isn’t unique. Just two weeks ago prosecutors were forced to drop murder charges against two men for a different murder in 2018.
That killing took place more than two years ago, in June 2018, at the Spanish Oaks apartments. An apparent drug deal turned violent and 21-year-old Tevon Lane died after being shot in the chest.
With the help of a confidential witness prosecutors were able to arrest two men, a then 18-year-old Antoine Williams Junior and a then 17-year-old Kolbe Moss.
Both suspects were charged with murder and set to be tried as adults this month.
Court records show prosecutors dropped the murder charges against both men because they were unable to locate one of their essential witnesses.
One former deputy prosecutor admitted getting witnesses to come to court is one of the biggest challenges facing murder cases in Marion county.
“In many of the murder cases there are witnesses that are scared to testify or are pressured not to testify,” said attorney Mario Massillamany.
“A lot of people are afraid if you say something you’re going to be hurt, so there’s a real reluctance to come forward,” said Gregory’s grandfather Steve Gentry.
Steve believes overcoming the so-called “code of silence” would bring justice to their family, but it’s also critical to cutting down on violent crime.
“You can hire all the officers you want to hire, but there’s no solution without people coming forward,” said Gentry.
Because there were likely multiple witnesses to the shooting, Gregory’s family still urges anyone with information to come forward and help criminal charges be refiled.