Fresh footprints in the snow led police from a homicide scene to 24-year-old Kenneth Warren, but prosecutors have determined that evidence wasn't enough.
Murder charges against Warren were dropped last week in connection with the death of Jasmine Harris, 23, an associate of the Black Guerrilla Family gang who was shot dead in the front doorway of her family's West Baltimore home Jan. 27.
The first officer on the scene in the 3000 block of Windsor Ave. had followed fresh footprints in the snow to Warren, who matched the description of the suspect and was watching the police response.
"Evidence melts away sometimes," Warren's defense attorney, Jack Rubin, said of the decision to drop the charges.
Warren, of the 200 block of Mount Holly St., gave conflicting statements to detectives about his whereabouts and involvement in the case, police said at the time. They said he acknowledged that he knew Harris, as well as a Black Guerrilla Family member called "Ant," one of the suspected gang members alleged to be in conflict with Harris.
Police said Warren was carrying gel caps containing suspected heroin when he was taken into custody but no weapon. Police believe he may have handed a gun to someone in a vehicle before returning to the scene. Drug charges against Warren are pending, though he has been released from custody as he awaits trial in that case.
Harris is said to have had an "ongoing problem" with members of the Black Guerrilla Family, a violent prison gang for whom she had smuggled drugs, police said. Several weeks before her death, she had been "beaten beyond recognition," records show.
Prosecutors say the investigation is continuing. Rubin said Warren has a "convincing" defense should new charges be brought, though he declined to elaborate. "They decided to do what was right and drop the case, and I'm gratified for that," Rubin said.