After two years in prison, a jury found 21-year-old Dujuan Garris not guilty for the murder of James Anderson on Thursday.
Throughout the duration of the case, defense attorneys Jeffrey Stein and Eugene Ohm denied any guilty on behalf of their client and instead suggested a drug gang was at fault for Anderson’s murder. They also suggested negligence on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Department.
In opening statements, Ohm told the jury that there was an incident in which officers on the scene failed to wear rubber gloves when handling evidence.
The possibility that lead detectives in the case didn’t thoroughly investigate the murder was another focal point.
The defense argued that Lead Detective Paris White chose not to disclose information involving other potential shooters that could have been the true suspect responsible for ending Anderson’s life.
The prosecution attempted to counter the defense’s argument by focusing on the eyewitnesses to the murder. However, multiple witnesses struggled to recall the details of the murder.
Prosecuting attorneys Mike Liebman and Chris Bruckmann called this repeated trend a result of the “no snitch rule.” Which Bruckmann explained as a trend in the Southwest Waterfront neighborhood not to speak with police in fear of being deemed “hot” or a “snitch.”
Despite their efforts the jury found Garris not guilty on all counts including first-degree murder.
Garris was held in jail for 779 days before Thursday’s verdict.