FORT MYERS, Fla.-“We do the leg work, we work with the State Attorney’s office, move witness several times, and they just quit at the end. It’s just disappointing.”
Chief Doug Baker isn’t sure there will ever be justice for 5-year-old Andrew Faust Jr., killed last year in a drive-by shooting.
The two accused killers, Thomas Edison and Terrance Irons, were cleared of any wrongdoing late Tuesday.
WINK News asked him if he thought Edison and Irons were guilty.
“Oh I do, I don’t have any question about it,” said Baker.
It came down to lack of evidence. The key eyewitness said she could no longer remember accusing them in the first place.
“It’s just frustrating, though I don’t want to give up,” said Baker. The chief says this hesitation to come forward needs to stop.
“If the community wants change, and they want a better community, it takes their participation,” said Baker.
Pastor William Glover has been working side by side with FMPD for a few months, on diversity training. He says in this case, police did their job, making an arrest. But Glover thinks more could have been done in the judicial system.
“In absence of a eyewitness, could this case have gone to trial, and let the jury decide? I am sick of it being laid at the feet of the community,” said Glover.
He says his community feels, that criminals rarely pay for their crimes, and it’s too easy for defendants to find witnesses.
“Change the environment, protect the identity of the witnesses, take some cases to trial, and the community will cooperate,” said Glover.
The State Attorney’s Office tells WINK News, that under the U.S. Constitution, a defendant has a right to face their accuser, and that it’s up to law enforcement to handle witness relocation.
They said they also have an 85 percent conviction rate.