Two men were acquitted of murder charges Wednesday after a deadlocked jury could not determine whether the men were guilty of shooting and killing a transgender person in 2016.
D.C. Superior Court Judge Milton C. Lee declared a mistrial in the case of Jolanta Little, 28, and Montee Tyree Johnson, 23, who were charged with first-degree murder for the death of Deeniquia “Dee Dee” Dodds, The Washington Post reported.
Dodds was shot and killed July 4, 2016, while being robbed in Northeast Washington, D.C.
— NBCWashington (@nbcwashington) July 14, 2016
— Kristin Wright (@kristinywright) July 14, 2016
— Transfaith (@transfaith) July 25, 2016
Authorities charged Little and Johnson with first-degree murder, robbery and conspiracy among a list of additional charges.
Prosecutors argued the men attacked after targeting Dodds as someone who was probably carrying cash. Investigators found no murder weapon or DNA evidence, according to the Post.
Prosecutors initially aimed to charge Little and Johnson with a hate crime, but the judge later found there was no evidence supporting hate crime charges. (RELATED: Transgender Activist Accused Of Burning Down Own Home In Hate Crime Hoax)
The jury considered the evidence for roughly a week, and determined it could reach no verdict Wednesday morning. Lee ordered the jury to deliberate further, but it still could not reach a decision.
Lee acquitted the men of 12 charges Wednesday afternoon. Little was found guilty, however, of unlawfully possessing a firearm, according to the Post.
Wednesday’s acquittals come after defense attorneys received a letter allegedly revealing a colleague of the lead prosecutor was working on a case involving the son of one of the jurors, causing concern that the prosecution might have unduly influenced the juror, according to the Post.
Prosecutors will internally discuss whether to retry the men.
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