KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A murder charge is dropped and the suspect is now a free man. The victim's mother says it's because witnesses are refusing to testify.
Charles Bates was killed March 26, 2012 at 80th and Brooklyn. Bates' mother, Tina Madge, says she was happy that there was an arrest just a month later. It was a family friend, Eric Grimes. Prosecutors told her witnesses and cell phone records placed Grimes at the scene of the crime.
"They tell me we got a good case, we got witnesses," Madge said, "and all of a sudden a week before trial we have no more witnesses and this murderer is let free."
Prosecutors wouldn't confirm why they dropped the case, but Madge says it's because witnesses were refusing to testify. Madge says instead of seeing her son's killer behind bars, she now has to run into him at the store and on the street, where she says he's laughed at her and taunted her. She says all she can do now is hope those witnesses change their mind.
"Stand up, come forward, stop hiding, get a killer off the street," she said.
Community Activist Alonzo Washington helped Madge with her son's case and says he helped convince witnesses to step forward. He says he understands people are afraid, but this case is a perfect example why the people of Kansas City have to be willing to do the right thing.
"If you don't come forward, you fail the city, if you don't talk criminals walk," Washington said, "you have to go past giving a tip and take it all the way to court and tell the court what you've seen."
The Jackson County Prosecutor's Office says they feel for the victims family and stand ready and willing to prosecute this case "if the evidence comes forward."