Houston News & Search
Photo: J. Patric Schneider/For The Chronicle
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo betrayed little of the frustration he must have been feeling as he pleaded Wednesday for information to help close the case in the shocking killing last year of 11-year-old Josue Flores.
“People talk, criminals talk,” Acevedo told a phalanx of reporters at Houston police headquarters. “There are people out there … that have information on this case, that can help us further solidify this case.
“I’m speaking to you. Please come forward.”
Until Tuesday, the investigation into the May 2016 fatal stabbing of the Marshall Middle School student appeared wrapped up.
CHARGES DROPPED: Second suspect set free
Investigators had pored through video. They’d talked to Northside residents and collected crime scene evidence.
Story continues below …
They ultimately arrested Andre Timothy Johnson, 29, a homeless veteran who was seen on surveillance video near the crime scene earlier in the day.
Then on Tuesday, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office announced prosecutors were dropping charges for lack of of evidence. DNA and blood analysis were inconclusive and prosecutors were worried they didn’t have enough to secure a conviction.
Acevedo said Wednesday his officers believe they arrested the right man, but that they are being hampered by a “CSI effect,” a reference to a popular crime-scene investigation television show.
“If you talk to a prosecutor, talk to cops, the DNA effect is real,” he said. “You have three witnesses or five witnesses, but a jury somewhere in the country will say, ‘Hey, what about the DNA?'”
“It’s a tough case, but it’s a case we’re not going to give up on,” he said. “It’s a case we’re going to pursue, and I’m hopeful that at some point we’ll have a charge and an arrest and a trial and a conviction.”
Latest Houston News Video
(Story continues below …)
Acevedo said the department had made the decision to ask the Texas Department of Public Safety to test the evidence because it has the most sophisticated machines and analysis available.
DPS has not yet explained why it took more than a year for the evidence to be examined.
“No DNA was found on our victim, and no DNA tying the suspect to that scene was found on items recovered from the suspect,” Acevedo said, stressing that the analysis had not identified DNA from other possible suspects. “No DNA. … That’s a really important thing to note.”
Josue was stabbed about 4:40 p.m. on May 17, 2016 as he walked home from school after staying late to attend a Science Club celebration.
The stabbing shocked the North Side community, where residents banded together to help students get home from school safely. Residents Tuesday sharply criticized the district attorney’s office for dropping the charges, saying they felt blindsided by the decision.
Houston News & Search