ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–The family of a man who was brutally beaten in a Cherokee Street area robbery last October is not happy that the prosecutor is dropping the case.
The victim, 64-year old Huan Le, was recovering from chemotherapy for cancer when he was “sucker punched” in an alley near Cherokee and Ohio Streets. The attacker took his wallet and left Le bleeding in the alley.
Police arrested a suspect from the neighborhood and charged him, but then Le died in February. Earlier this week, as the trial date was approaching, two prosecutors visited with the Le family to tell them that the case could not move forward because it relied on Huan Le’s eyewitness testimony.
The victim’s son–Vu Le– says the case should have gone to trial.
“They said it was because of the lack of evidence,” Vu Le said, “And I thought it was rather crass of the Circuit Attorney, Kim Gardner, to release a statement on this matter, basically blaming the case falling through because of my father’s death.”
Le says the prosecutor’s office failed to return calls from the family before Huan Le died, during which time they think he could have given some deposition.
“Nobody from that office came to my father when he was feeling better and asked him what the perpetrator looked like,” Vu Le said, “They could have asked my father how he was doing and come to the house.”
The family now feels apprehensive that the suspect has been released.
The Circuit Attorney’s office released a statement
August 4, 2017
This morning, we dismissed charges in the August 2016 robbery of Mr. Le. Yesterday, we went to the home of Mr. Le’s family to discuss our decision. We explained to them that this was a heartbreaking, but necessary, decision for us. We simply don’t have the evidence to prove who committed this crime beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law at this time.
Regardless of our personal feelings about who committed this crime, it is improper for prosecutors to pursue charges without sufficient evidence.
In some cases, we have a lot of physical evidence, and in others, we have strong eye-witness identification. In the absence of forensic evidence, witness identification becomes that much more important. When there is neither form of evidence, our office is unable to proceed. With the death of Mr. Le from cancer, any opportunity for identification evidence disappeared.