LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Two Laurel men who were charged with murder have now been released from jail after a Grand Jury no billed their murder charges.
The Grand Jury returned "no true bills" for murder against Gregory Nix and Maurice Jones. In January, Laurel Police arrested the two men and charged each with two counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault for the death of Justin Curry and Bennie Owens. The victims were shot multiple times January 3 as they were exiting the front door of a home on Woodlawn Drive.
According to the Grand Jury report, the "no true bills" are based on the fact the only alleged eye witness to the crime has since recanted her story.
"This one witness has changed her story," said Jones County District Attorney Tony Buckley. "We grilled her, examined her, but she claims that she cannot say with a good conscious that she actually did see those two individuals and will not say so in court."
The report also states that there is no evidence upon which to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. There is no physical evidence, no DNA, no fingerprints, nor any gun to match ballistics to.
"There are projectiles and shell casings secured, but there's no gun to match them to," said Buckley.
This is the Laurel Police Department's second murder case in less than three months that has been returned by the Grand Jury. In May, the Grand Jury issued a partial report stating no indictments were made against the four people arrested for the McGruder murder case. The Laurel man was shot to death November 7 as he was sitting outside his apartment near Johnson Circle. Three of the suspects were released after the partial report, the other suspect, Frankie Lee Hosey remains in jail on a charge of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon arising from the McGruder's case.
Although "no true bills" have been returned on these two cases, the reports state that the findings is not evidence of innocence.
"...new and additional evidence can always be gathered to ensure that once a True Bill is found the criminal(s) does not escape justice at his actual trial."
The investigation remains open on both cases.
"Layne Bounds with the Laurel Police Department, he's been assigned to this case and he's had success in the past on cases like Cookie Dean to his credit and if anyone can try and solve this case and break it, it be Layne Bounds," said Buckley.