Prosecutors have dropped a second-degree murder charge in the death of a Carthage man who was killed with a machete.
The charge against 47-year-old Juan Mendoza was dropped Monday and he was released from the Jasper County jail, where he had been held since May 2012.
Jasper County Prosecutor Dean Dankelson says the charge was dropped after a judge suppressed statements Mendoza reportedly made to police after his arrest. He says that left the prosecution without its key piece of evidence, and the deportation of a key witness also hurt the state’s case.
Gonzalez, 43, was found hacked to death on April 25, 2012, near a camp on the banks of the Spring River on the north side of Carthage. Police believe he had been killed the morning of the preceding day. An autopsy determined that he had been struck three times in the back of the neck and that his throat had been cut with a machete.
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The murder charge could be refiled if new evidence is found.