Aggravated murder and robbery charges have been dismissed against an Akron man in the July 2011 shooting death of 31-year-old Dante Thornton, authorities said.
Terrell D. Nurse, 21, who was indicted with a co-defendant in March, was to stand trial last Tuesday in Summit County Common Pleas Court before Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands.
But on Jan. 25, prosecutors asked for a dismissal of all charges against Nurse in connection with the slaying.
Nurse’s lawyer, Scott A. Rilley, said a mixture of DNA evidence discovered at the crime scene on the victim’s clothing and inside his wallet excluded Nurse as a contributor.
“His DNA was nowhere to be found at the crime scene,” Rilley said, adding that investigators obtained Nurse’s DNA beforehand for comparison.
Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh said the agency’s attorneys requested dismissal of the case without prejudice, based on the current state of the evidence and “the recent unavailability of material witnesses for the trial,” she said.
Rowlands approved the prosecution request.
A dismissal without prejudice means prosecutors could refile charges if they obtain new evidence or witnesses.
Walsh said the agency is committed to seeking justice for the victim and his family and asked anyone with information about Thornton’s murder to call the Akron police detective bureau at 330-375-2490.
Thornton was shot and killed inside his Moon Street apartment. His pants pockets were pulled out as if someone had rifled through them, police said.
Last month, Nurse’s co- defendant, Brent Lett, 23, also of Akron, was found not guilty of all charges in connection with the slaying following a weeklong trial and three hours of deliberations.
Nurse currently is serving a seven-year prison sentence in an unrelated case of aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary, state prison records show.
Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.