INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Marion County prosecutors have dropped charges against two men accused of killing the daughter of a Chicago anti-violence activist on Indianapolis’ west side last summer.
Michael Edwards and Kenneth Jones were jailed last month for the murder of Tamara Sword after a witness came forward and explained to police that the mother of five was caught in a literal crossfire between two rival DJ rappers.
It appears that witness, or another key one, has backed out on his or her agreement to cooperate with investigators.
“Well, they had to dismiss the case simply because of the eyewitness. They’re trying to locate the eyewitness now,” said Andrew Holmes who was told by prosecutors last week the case had stalled. “We need to find that eyewitness that is on the run.”
According to the Probable Cause filed on June 7, Edwards, who is known on stage as “Mike E,” and Jones, known as “Ken Ken,” were rivals of DJ rapper Devan Dumes, whose professional name is “D-Bo.”
A pair of confrontations at a nightclub alternately known as Cloud 9/Suite 38/The Limelight in August of 2015 led to the shooting at a convenience store at West 38th Street and Lafayette Road. Sword died of a gunshot wound to the chest. Another man, Joshua Riggins, was killed after being struck by a vehicle leaving the scene while he dove for cover.
A witness, identified by the initials “DR,” told investigators this spring that he saw Jones and Edwards on the parking lot armed with an assault-style rifle.
“It was Ken Ken who was firing the weapon and Mike E was standing next to him while he was doing it,” read the State’s charging information.
More than 40 shell casings from two weapons were found at the scene as investigators said the rival groups exchanged gunfire.
“They initially agreed to keep quiet and not cooperate with police so that they could retaliate against Mike E themselves,” concluded the detective.
A spokeswoman for Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said that the case against Edwards and Jones was dismissed for, “evidentiary problems.”
“Most times it is issues with the witness,” Curry told FOX59 last week during a report on case dismissals by his office. “We’re obviously trying to make the best of what frequently becomes a bad situation.
“With a murder there is no statute of limitations so we could always refile.”
Holmes said he will come to Indianapolis this week to search for the reluctant witness.
“I can guarantee you I’m not letting up and letting this case fall by the wayside. I’m not letting up.
“I’m gonna find this witness. I’m gonna get his picture, I’m gonna circulate this picture out. Nationally, locally, I’m gonna do everything I can. My baby’s been laid to rest. She can’t breathe no more.”
Holmes said he supported the work being done by IMPD and prosecutors.
A spokeswoman for Curry’s office said prosecutors have dismissed 13 cases so far this year compared to 22 dismissals for all of 2015.