Charges dropped in death of Nebraska Army sergeant
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Charges have been dropped against a man accused of killing a U.S. Army soldier in Omaha because the state’s key witness has backed out of testifying.
Larry Goynes, 27, was released from Douglas County Jail on Tuesday after the County Attorney’s Office dismissed a first-degree murder and weapon use charge against him, The Omaha World-Herald reported .
Goynes was accused in the January shooting death of Army Sgt. Kyle LeFlore, who had been visiting Omaha relatives for the holidays.
The case was dropped this week after a witness declined to testify.
“We still maintain that Mr. Goynes was not responsible for this,” said Mallory Hughes, one of Goynes’ attorneys. “We were prepared to go to trial to dispute the allegations made against him.”
LeFlore’s father, Kay LeFlore, alleges the witness backed out because she felt threatened. Kay LeFlore, who is black, said there’s a stigma in the black community against people who cooperate with police.
“No one should have a problem with witnesses standing their ground and speaking out about a killing,” LeFlore said. “This shouldn’t even be a problem within our community.”
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine declined to name the witness, who initially told investigators that she was with Goynes the morning Kyle LeFlore was shot. Attempts were made to protect the witness, including offering relocation, but the witness declined, authorities said.
“This is extremely frustrating for us,” Kleine said. “If people don’t cooperate, aren’t cooperating, it makes our job extremely frustrating.”
Prosecutors said they could refile charges against Goynes if additional evidence is found.
“At this point, it doesn’t mean that the case (against Goynes) is forever done,” Kleine said. “It just means there’s more work to be done.
Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com