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Witness recants statement, murder charges dropped

By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
April 10, 2001
The Lauderdale County District Attorney has dismissed murder charges against a Meridian man after a key witness recanted his statement, it was learned Monday.
Charges against Demetrious Hampton, 20, of 1611 12th Ave. indicted for murder in connection with a February 2000 neighborhood altercation were dropped after an unnamed witness recanted. The incident, which claimed the life of 27-year-old Lenny Washington, took place in front of children on their way home from Witherspoon Elementary School.
In a related development, charges have also been dismissed against Leo Curry Jr., the man accused as an accessory after the fact in the same crime.
Police said they believed Hampton, who was arrested at the scene of the crime, shot Washington in front of Hampton's home during a fight. Hampton was indicted by a grand jury in July 2000.
A second man, 19-year-old Raylandus Lynch, was also shot during the same altercation. Charges against his accused attacker, O'derrick Mosley, were dismissed. Lynch was released from Rush Foundation Hospital a week after the shooting.
At the time of Lynch's shooting, Mosley was on parole for the 1992 beating death of a 15-year-old classmate at Northwest Junior High School.
Police said a number of shots were fired from two guns, one of which was a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun. Police said there was no indication that the victim was armed.
Police said they had collected potential evidence from the home of Leo Curry Jr., who was indicted as an accessory to murder after the fact in connection with Washington's death.
According to Circuit Court documents, charges against Hampton were dismissed after a key witness recanted his original statement that Hampton had stood over Washington and fired into him as he lay on the ground.
Lauderdale County District Attorney Bilbo Mitchell, who was attending a parole hearing at Parchman Penitentiary on Monday, was unavailable for comment. Dan Angero, the assistant district attorney handling the case, did not return phone calls Monday.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.

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