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Tue April 14, 2009
Alleged racially-inspired murder case in Paris unraveling?
Paris – It's been four months since two white men were indicted for the dragging death of a black man just outside Paris. Now, key evidence against the pair appears to be evaporating and the defense attorney for one suspect is confident he can win an acquittal during trial this summer.
Police accuse Shannon Keith Finley and Charles Ryan Crostley, of running over and dragging to death 24-year-old Brandon McClelland on Sept. 16, 2008. Local civil rights activists denounced the case as a racially-inspired hate crime.
But, according to the Texas State Network, an initial police claim that investigators had found blood on the underside of the pickup has not been confirmed by more thorough forensic testing. That's failed to verify the presence of any human material or DNA beneath the truck, special prosecutor Toby Shook confirmed.
Moreover, a crucial prosecution witness to whom, police say, Finley allegedly confessed details of the killing has been challenged on his credibility, which could undermine any testimony he might give.
The witness, James Mitchell Laster, told police Finley had admitted to him he had intentionally run over McClelland and dragged his body beneath his truck for about 40 feet, according to a police affidavit.
McClelland's mother, Jacqueline, said she remains convinced Finley and Crostley killed her son and is distressed the case against them seems to be unraveling.