Co-defendant clams up: Charges dropped in brothers' murders - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Co-defendant clams up: Charges dropped in brothers' murders

By Chuck Weber - bio | email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - There was a shocking turn of events Thursday in a Palm Beach County courtroom as prosecutors were forced to drop first degree murder charges in a high profile case.

James Roundtree was on trial for killing brothers Mark and John Teal. It happened on Flagler Drive near downtown West Palm Beach in September 2008.

Crucial to the case against Roundtree was co-defendant Charles Moss, who had admitted to driving the shooters' car.  Earlier this year, Moss struck a plea deal with prosecutors. Moss got 15 years in prison and agreed to testify.

But on the witness stand, while Moss initially identified Roundtree as one of the shooters, he later said Roundtree was not the one.

Prosecutors said Moss was their only identification witness, and they had no choice, but to drop Roundtree's murder charges.

"I say there is a God," exclaimed Darlene Rawls, Roundtree's mother, after the court proceedings. "My son will be coming home."

Members of the Teal family were devastated -- some in tears. "The whole family is distraught and disappointed," said the boys' father Mark Teal. "But I'm not going to quit until there's justice in this case."

Roundtree still faces one more charge -- felon in possession of a firearm -- which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Roundtree's lawyer indicated she would file a motion to get her client released on bond.

As for Charles Moss, prosecutors are expected to try and re-open his plea deal to seek a lengthier sentence.

Sources say the case against the other alleged trigger man in the Teal murders, Cory Williams, does not rely exclusively on Moss' identification.

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