Kanawha Prosecutor Mark Plants has dismissed a first-degree murder charge against David Kinney in a case involving a West Side shooting two years ago.
Kinney, 34, was arrested three months after Poca resident Jeremy Parsons was shot to death in broad daylight as he drove on Virginia Street. His Cadillac ElDorado crashed afterward near the Save-A-Lot store.
But bringing Kinney to trial has been a difficult road for prosecutors. The case has also been a thorn in the side of Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster from the beginning.
Now she has signed the order granting a motion from prosecutors to dismiss the case, and Kinney is a free man.
Plants said he had no choice.
"I'm left with no evidence," he said. "But the victim's family is convinced he is the killer. And so are we."
Plants said Kinney and Parsons had "bad blood" between them. Police thought the murder was sparked by jealousy over a girlfriend.
What prosecutors hoped to show a jury was a video taken by a security camera at the Auto Zone store. That video shows cars driving past on Virginia Street just prior to the shooting. They believe one was Kinney's and one was Parsons'.
They also wanted a jury to know about 10 mm shell casings found at the murder scene and planned to have a gun expert testify about the unique marks made on them and how it could link Kinney to the ammunition.
Earlier this year, Webster ruled those shell casings couldn't be introduced because of a fluke that occurred at the State Police Crime Lab. As evidence, the casings were erroneously filed under the victim's name, not Kinney's, and when there was trouble locating them, prosecutors said they must be lost.
Defense attorneys accused the state of "gross negligence," and Webster agreed.