Prosecutors have dropped a murder charge against a Chester County man in a 2012 case, alleged at the time to be a “vigilante” killing of a rape suspect.
Antwan White of Chester County and his lawyer proclaimed from the time of his arrest that White was innocent in the killing of Michael Jermaine Terry, 39. White’s family and friends also said repeatedly he was innocent.
The case received statewide attention over the death of a rape suspect before the suspect could be investigated.
White, who was 21 at the time of his arrest in 2012 and had no criminal record, was charged about a week after Terry was found dead on a Chester County road.
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Police were en route to the site of the alleged rape of a minor female family member of both men when Terry’s body was found by officers. The female victim told police that Terry had raped her in nearby woods.
The Herald does not identify victims of sexual assault.
Candice Lively, 6th Circuit Deputy Solicitor, who came to the Chester prosecutor’s office in 2016, said she reviewed the 2012 case and determined there is not enough evidence to convict White.
Lively said she had a duty to dismiss the charges.
“As it stands, there is just not sufficient evidence to bring a murder case to trial,” Lively said.
White gave no confession and denied involvement, and police presented no physical evidence, such as gunshot residue.
Lively said the case was dismissed with the right to restore if new evidence is found.
At a bond hearing in August 2012, prosecutors called the killing of Terry a “retaliation” for the sexual assault.
Terry had a criminal record dating back 20 years.
No charge can be brought in the sexual assault of the girl because the suspect is dead, Lively said.
Over the past five years, there was never a single court hearing in the murder case, and White remained free on $40,000 bond.
The charge was officially dismissed in May.
Efforts to reach Arthur Lee Gaston, White’s lawyer, were unsuccessful.