Jackson County prosecutors dismissed second-degree murder charges against a 23-year-old alleged gang member just as the criminal trial was set to begin Monday.
Mark A. Looney was charged in the 2014 death of Michael Taylor, 22, who was fatally shot in the 3300 block of College Avenue after he walked up to a car to talk to someone, according to court records.
On Monday, prosecutors announced they were dismissing the criminal case after Circuit Court Judge Kevin D. Harrell denied their request for a continuance.
“Presumption of innocence and the right to speedy trial are not just words,” said Daniel Ross, who represented Looney. “The case was specially set by agreement and when the defense showed up for trial and state asked for a second continuance, which was denied by the court, the state dismissed.”
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Michael Mansur, a spokesman for Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, said they planned to refile the murder charges at a later date.
According to court records, the shooting occurred less than a mile away from the spot where, in 2008, Looney shot a 14-year-old boy from a moving car. Investigators in that case identified the victim and Looney as members of rival gangs.
Looney, then 14, was convicted of the shooting and placed in the custody of the Missouri Division of Youth Services. He was released after turning 18 and placed on probation, which was revoked after Taylor was killed two years ago.
Taylor was fatally shot on Dec. 1, 2014. According to court records, witnesses told investigators that Taylor had been summoned to talk to a female in a parked car. When he approached, a man in the car shot him, claiming Taylor pulled a gun. However, a witness said Taylor was not armed and had left his gun in his car.