Charges Dropped Against 3 Teens
Posted by Shaun Dawson on June 16, 2008
“Further investigation has shown that there is insufficient evidence to proceed with charges against the defendant.”
With that phrase charges were dropped against 3 of the teens involved in the case of the beating of former Mulberry High cheerleader Victoria Lindsay. Freed from further prosecution were: Cara Murphy, 16, Stephen Schumaker, 18, and Zachary Ashley, 17. They had all been charged with kidnapping and battery. There is some speculation that the 3 may become witnesses. However, Chip Thullbery, a spokesman for the State Attorney’s Office said any such speculation was premature: “At this point, it’s premature to determine who will be witnesses in the case,” Thullbery said.
Cara Murphy’s attorney, Melodie Lopez, said her client had nothing to do with the incident. Her client was at the scene of the incident, but that was all that happened.
Stephen Schumaker’s father, Bob Schumaker, blamed Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, saying he had arrested the young men too hastily.
“They had nothing on the boys from the very start,” Bob Schumaker said. “That’s why we were so upset. Because they weren’t even there.”
Zachary Ashley’s mother, Heidi Dease, agreed:
“It’s been a long road,” Dease said. “But we’re very excited today.”
Five girls still remain charged in the beating of Victoria Lindsay: Mercades Nichols, 17; April Cooper, 15; Brittini Hardcastle, 17; Kayla Hassall, 15; and Brittany Mayes, 17, all of whom are charged with battery and kidnapping. In addition, Mercades, Brittini and Brittany also are charged with tampering with a witness. See the video here.