For the second time in two weeks, homicide charges against a Hamilton County slaying suspect have been dropped after the district attorney said there was not enough evidence to prosecute the case.
Hamilton County District Attorney Neil Pinkston filed a motion Thursday to drop criminal homicide charges against Chester Phelps, 19, who was arrested in June in the 2014 slaying of Charles J. King.
King was found dead June 25, 2014, sitting in his SUV with a gunshot wound to his head.
Last May, Chattanooga police approached the DA's office about the case and about charging Phelps, according to the motion to dismiss the case filed by the state.
The DA "told the police there is not currently sufficient evidence to charge Mr. Phelps for the homicide of Mr. King," the motion states.
Still, on June 12 "without any additional evidence in this case," police executed arrest warrants to charge King with criminal homicide.
The affidavit states that Phelps confessed the crime to people "known to law enforcement." The DA said such oral statements, "if they were in fact even declared," likely to be inadmissible before a court of law.
Last week, the district attorney also dismissed charges against Bruce Stevenson, who had been charged in the killing of elementary school volunteer Rosa Chatman.
In that case, the DA's office said it had to dismiss charges because circumstantial evidence had not "developed favorably for the state" in the three weeks since the arrest.
Contact staff writer Kate Belz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6673.