In a major twist today, Tuesday, Florida Prosecutors have dropped the charges against a man accused of killing Rabbi Yosef Raksin HYD, who was visiting daughter in North Miami Beach, Florida.
The accused, Deandre Charles, maintained his innocence since being charged and today the state said they did not have evidence to charge the suspect. Furthermore, they said, an armed robbery that happened the day before also played a major role in the state’s decision to drop the case against Charles.
Rabbi Raksin was shot and killed on Shabbos morning while walking to Shul in what police suspected was a robbery gone bad. Charles, who was only 14 at the time, was arrested as a suspect in December of 2015 and spent months behind bars before he was placed on house arrest.
“I did not switch up my story yet, bro, I told you everything,” said Charles in a police interrogation video when he was arrested. “You think I want to be here? I don’t want to be here, bro.”
And that’s exactly what prosecutors said, Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, at this time, the trial team does not believe it can prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” said the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office in a statement.
The state had been relying on DNA evidence to charge Charles. However, their evidence fell apart.
Since the shooting in 2014, the crime laboratory at the Miami-Dade Police Department has changed its protocol when it comes to DNA. Now, the state believes the evidence against Charles would not have held up in court.
The state was also relying on cellphone records to prosecute Charles. The initial information they had received was that Charles’ cellphone was in the same area where the rabbi was killed.
However, it was then discovered that the cellphone was being used by someone else.
And yet another thing devastated the prosecution’s evidence.
“At the time of the indictment, the trial team was unaware that the firearm used in this murder had been used 30 hours prior in an armed robbery,” added the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office in the statement.
On Oct. 1, 2015, the investigation discovered a connection between that armed robbery in Northwest Miami-Dade and the murder. A police analyst confirmed both casings were fired from the same gun.
However, prosecutors said, they were never made aware of this connection until months later.
Despite Tuesday’s dropping of the charges against Charles, the state is not giving up in its search for the killer responsible for the rabbi’s death.
“The state attorney’s office remains committed to bring justice to the Raksin family,” said the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office in its statement.
The rabbi’s family has been informed of the developments and although they are disappointed, they are still waiting and praying for justice.