Charges have been dropped against three men accused of the 2015 shooting death of a Concordia Lutheran High School student — mainly because the three witnesses who came forward initially are nowhere to be found, according to Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards.
Joshua A. Smiley, Darrion L. Bright and Javaris J. Travier, who were scheduled to to go on trial next week for the August 2015 shooting death of 17-year-old Concordia Lutheran High School student Alonna Allison, appeared Tuesday morning in Allen Superior Court for a pretrial conference.
When the prosecution said it could not produce witnesses in a timely manner, Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull dismissed the single count of criminal recklessness, a Level 5 felony, against each of the three defendants.
Allison, who was shot while attending a birthday party Aug. 29, 2015, in the 2500 block of Schaper Drive, got caught in the crossfire when several people from rival groups began shooting at one another. She was pronounced dead shortly after midnight Aug. 30, 2015.
The Allen County Coroner's Office determined Allison was the 17th homicide in Allen County in 2015.
Witnesses told police the three men were shooting during the dispute, according to probable-cause affidavits filed in their cases.
Richards, who held a press conference Tuesday afternoon, said there were between 50 and 100 people in attendance at that party when shots rang out. Police recovered more than 100 shell casings and six guns.
"This will never be a safe community until witnesses come forward," Richards said. "Three came forward. You cannot tell me more didn't know more."
As the trial date approached, the three disappeared. An arrest warrant has been issued for one of the witnesses. Richards said she plans to speak to the Legislature about stiffer penalties for uncooperative witnesses.
The charges were dropped without prejudice, which means the Allen County Prosecutor's Office may revisit charges against Smiley, Bright and Travier in the future.
"We are looking for justice for this young lady," Richards said.
Allison's father spoke briefly at the press conference, urging someone to come forward from the party.
"As African Americans, we've become immune," he said. "We're killing each other over nothing."
Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to call the Fort Wayne Police Detective Bureau at 427-1201.