BOSTON (AP) — The state's highest court on Tuesday upheld the dismissal of a murder charge against a man accused along with his brother of killing a third brother, finding that prosecutors violated his right to a speedy trial.

Nickoyan and Timi Wallace were charged in the 2000 killing of Tasfa Wallace in Boston after a drug dispute. They fled to Rhode Island and were later indicted on federal charges in the armed robbery of a Providence gun store.

Nickoyan Wallace was arrested days after the robbery, but Timi Wallace became one of New England's most wanted fugitives until his 2004 arrest.

Nickoyan Wallace was convicted on the armed robbery charges in 2001 and was sentenced to 17 years in prison. Timi Wallace was sentenced to 25 years in prison on the armed robbery charge.

Both brothers filed motions asking that the charges in their brother's killing be dismissed because of yearslong delays between when criminal complaints were issued and their arraignments for that crime. They pleaded not guilty to killing him.

The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed a lower court judge's dismissal of the murder charge against Nickoyan Wallace but refused to dismiss the charge against Timi Wallace, saying his four years as a fugitive contributed significantly to the delay.

In Nickoyan Wallace's case, the court found that prosecutors were negligent in not arraigning him in the murder case sooner.

"As we have stated, the reason for the delay post-Federal sentencing is due to the negligence of the Commonwealth in bringing Nickoyan to trial," the court found.

Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley, said the case was delayed in part because prosecutors wanted to try the brothers together but could not for several years because Timi Wallace remained a fugitive.

"The case was always a priority for us, but our goal was a joint trial as joint venturers in a murder," Wark said.

Matthew Kamholtz, Nickoyan Wallace's lawyer, said he was pleased with the ruling dismissing the murder case.

Both men are still serving their federal sentences in the armed robbery.