DNA evidence has freed a Houston, Texas, man accused of stabbing an 11-year-old to death last year.
The Harris County District Attorney’s office announced that there is “insufficient evidence to prove a case against” Andre Jackson, 28, who has been jailed on murder charges for the past year, People reported. Jackson was the prime suspect in the May 17, 2016, death of Josue Flores, who was abducted and stabbed more than 20 times as he walked home from school.
First Assistant District Attorney Tom Berg claimed DNA on Flores’ clothes did not match Jackson’s and DNA on Jackson’s clothes did not match Flores’, according to the Houston Chronicle. Prosecutors felt the evidence could cast doubt in court. If acquitted, they wouldn’t be able to retry Jackson due to double jeopardy.
“We’re not saying Andre Jackson is innocent and excluded as a suspect,” prosecutor Tiffany Dupree told the paper. “We’re just saying at this point, if we tried this case to a jury, we don’t feel we could secure a conviction.”
According to KTRK, Jackson was released from Harris County Jail around 1 am Wednesday. The former Marine was reportedly homeless at the time of his arrest.
Despite DNA evidence, Houston Police still believe Jackson is their man.
In a statement obtained by KPRC, Chief Art Acevedo maintained that homicide investigators had “sufficient probable cause” to secure an arrest warrant. He said the department’s findings were turned over to the District Attorney’s Office, who ultimately opted to file murder charges.
“Following today’s announcement that charges are being dropped against Mr. Jackson, we are now looking at this case as an ongoing murder investigation and will devote whatever resources needed to bring closure to the Flores family,” Acevedo commented.
The station pointed out that Jackson is the second person arrested in connection with this case. The first suspect, Che Calhoun, was released after his alibi placed him in a different location at the time of the stabbing.
Prosecutors noted that authorities reserve the right to refile murder charges if new evidence comes to light. At a press conference, CrimeStoppers spokesman Jeff McShan urged anyone with information about Flores’ murder to come forward.
“We’re back at square one,” he said. “We need the evidence, so whoever did this to (Josue) we’ll be able to find that person and present that to the DA’s office.”
Jackson’s whereabouts are currently unknown.
Houston Police chief @ArtAcevedo speaks Exclusively with me about charges dropped against suspect in death of 11-year-old #JosueFlores pic.twitter.com/BjkDzGyahy
— Jonathan Martin (@JMartinFOX26) July 19, 2017
[Featured Image: Houston Police Department/Family Handout]