by: Jeff Smith Updated:
MONROE, N.C. - The family of a man killed in front of his home told Eyewitness News it's heartbroken that prosecutors have dropped all charges against the three people arrested for the crime.
Union County prosecutors said one witness has given them two different stories, while a second witness recanted his story a few weeks ago. They decided they couldn't move forward with the case and proceed to a trial.
"I've been trying to deal with this all day. It's wrong. It's so wrong. It really is," said Vontavis Richardson, breaking down in tears.
Vontavis Richardson's uncle, Michael Richardson, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Monroe three years ago in the middle of the day.
Richardson was playing with his 2-year-old niece in the front yard of his home on English Street. Witnesses said he was protecting the girl with his body when he was shot.
"I was standing right here when he fell through the door," Vontavis Richardson said. "There was nothing that could be done for him."
Damien Thompson, who is currently in prison for an assault charge, was charged with murder. Damien Allen was also charged with murder. Lacey Carnes was charged as an accessory to murder after the fact.
This summer, prosecutors said Thompson fully recanted his story, while Carnes' story has changed with each interview.
"It just feels like justice was not served," Richardson said.
Union County District Attorney Trey Robison said, "My office and [police] investigators have been attempting to rehabilitate the case for several months ... We met for the specific purpose of determining once and for (all) whether we could move this case forward to trial with the available evidence. The unanimous opinion was that we could not."
Richardson said her family has been torn apart by the murder, and she's devastated there won't be a trial.
"When you come forward for somebody, please always keep your word. You know what I'm saying? Keep your story straight," she said.
Eyewitness News was unable to track down the people who had their charges dismissed. Thompson is still in prison.
Robison said he's hopeful prosecutors will get new information in the future that will allow them to move forward with a trial.