Despite surveillance video showing a fatal shooting in North Charleston in 2016, authorities have dismissed a murder charge in the case due to a lack of evidence implicating the suspect as the shooter.
Marvin Angelo Pressley Jr., 24, was cleared in the slaying of 23-year-old Shadeed Siraj Price. A prosecutor said in court paperwork filed last week that the only evidence substantiating the murder charge was one witness who said they saw Pressley and Price fighting several minutes before the shooting on Sept. 7, 2016.
Two witnesses to the homicide wouldn't speak to authorities, and no one else came forward, Assistant Solicitor David Osborne wrote in court documents.
Surveillance video from 9:05 p.m. that night showed Price fighting with someone while several people watched on Ranger Drive in the Dorchester Waylyn neighborhood near Dorchester Road.
Price's shirt was torn off during the altercation, and he walked to a nearby convenience store at the front of the road on Dorchester Road to buy another one. The video showed the other man walk away in the opposite direction toward the neighborhood.
About three minutes later, Price returned to Ranger Drive, where a person approached from the direction of the neighborhood. An affidavit charging Pressley at the time said that the shooter motioned for people to move out of the way while he pulled out a handgun and then shot Price. The suspect then ran back toward the neighborhood.
Police responded about 9:10 p.m. and found Price lying in the road and suffering from gunshot wounds to his arms and chest. He died at Medical University Hospital.
Police collected six 9 mm shell casings from the scene, the affidavit said.
U.S. marshals arrested Pressley in February 2018. He remained jailed until April, when a judge released him on his personal recognizance.
Osborne said one witness identified Pressley as the person who fought Price before the shooting. But due to the quality of the surveillance video, it was impossible to identify the gunman based on the footage alone.
"Even if Pressley's fight with Price is proven true, the fact Pressley fought with Price earlier does not preclude someone else returning to murder Price. With the present evidence, this case cannot be prosecuted," Osborne said.
A gun forensically matched to the murder weapon was recovered from two men during a traffic stop. Those individuals weren't otherwise named in the investigation. Osborne said law enforcement later destroyed the weapon.
"There was no DNA, there weren’t any witnesses that were willing to come forward, and the one that had come forward recanted her statement," said Pressley's attorney, Michael DuPree of Charleston.
Prosecutors may refile charges if further evidence surfaces.