NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s been a stunning turn in the case of a Brooklyn rabbi who was murdered while visiting family in Florida.
Prosecutors have dropped all charges against 17-year-old Deandre Charles of South Florida, the suspect originally accused of killing Rabbi Joseph Raksin in 2014.
Raksin was visiting his daughter near Miami when he was shot dead early on a Saturday while on his way to worship.
Charles was charged based on circumstantial evidence including DNA and cell phone records. He’s always denied involvement.
Now — in a memo released on Tuesday — prosecutors explain how the case collapsed, saying a “change in lab protocol” puts the DNA evidence in question. Additionally, a reevaluation of the cell phone records can’t place the defendant at the scene.
“It’s a great day for us,” defense attorney Adam Goodman said in a Tuesday press conference. “I’m sure it’s a very sad day for that family as well.”
Retired FBI Agent Manny Gomez has been following the case closely in New York.
“Obviously they dropped the ball,” he tells CBS2’s Tony Aiello. “They dropped the ball with this piece of vital evidence, the firearm that had DNA evidence on it.”
In Crown Heights, those who knew Raksin say justice will be served one way or another.
“Whoever murdered Raksin in cold blood for no reason whatsoever, either the Florida police will get on it and find the murderer and do what comes him or God will take care of it,” Rabbi Joseph Spielman said.
CBS2 was unable to reach Rabbi Raksin’s family for comment on Tuesday’s developments. The Miami-Dade prosecutor says the case remains open and the investigation is active.