Brothers Maurice, 30, and Emory Felix, 27, are free men tonight after spending approximately 8 years behind bars and facing 3 murder trials. Viewers may recall that the brothers were accused of killing mechanic Mitchum Heredia, 29, at his T-Street resident on April 10, 2006. Main witness Romel Palacio Jr., had testified that he witnessed the brothers approach Heredia, who was in his Nissan Maxima vehicle, with guns drawn. One of them spoke to him and then both fired shots to his head and continued to fire, resulting in multiple gunshot wounds.
In October of 2007 a jury found them guilty but the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial after finding a material misdirection of the jury by Justice Adolph Lucas. A second jury sitting before Justice Herbert Lord four years later was unable to reach a verdict. For this trial, the prosecutor Sheiniza Smith successfully applied for a change of venue, citing alleged jury tampering in the previous trials to Justice Gonzalez.
Palacio Jr. had since died, allegedly at the hands of individuals trying to silence him, and was thus unavailable to testify; however the witness statement he gave police was admitted as evidence. Romel Palacio’s father, Romel Sr., was also killed several years ago in what was believed to be an attempt to get rid of witnesses. The Felix brothers took the witness stand as they did previously, and gave alibi testimonies saying that they were elsewhere at the time of the incident. They were represented by attorney Arthur Saldivar.
Court reports say the nolle pros document was finally filed after their most recent hung jury in mid-May.
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