Charges dropped in ‘98 murder case

Published 9:42 pm Wednesday, December 3, 2008

City prosecutors this week dropped a murder charge against a man in a 10-year-old case.

Demetrius Neely, 31, was charged in the murder of Malik Powell at the Whitemarsh Shopping Plaza in November 1998.

Another man, Dedric Sherrod, was found guilty in November of the murder. After the Sherrod trial, prosecutors took another look at the evidence and witnesses against Neely, said Will Jamerson, deputy commonwealth’s attorney.

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“After the Sherrod trial, we reassessed the witnesses and the quality of their testimony, and, based upon that, we felt that we didn’t have sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Neely was involved,” Jamerson said.

“The question became whether Neely was involved sufficiently to be legally culpable.”

The charge against Neely is not being prosecuted at this time, but could be brought back if more evidence surfaces, Jamerson said.

Neely already is serving a prison sentence for Portsmouth charges. His jury trial would have begun Wednesday.