HOUSTON (FOX 26) - The charges against a man accused in the 2016 murder of 11-year-old Josue Flores are dropped after the Harris County District Attorney's office says DNA test results leave them unable to go to trial.
Andre Jackson, 27, was arrested in June of 2016 and charged with stabbing Flores as many as 20 times as the boy was walking home from school in Houston's Near Northside. Jackson is an Iraq War Veteran and was homeless at the time of his arrest. He had no known ties to Flores.
"The results of the DNA and blood analysis are at best inconclusive and in some respects exclude him as a suspect in the case," said Tom Berg of the Harris County District Attorney's office at a press conference Tuesday.
The prosecution says they've waited the better part of a year for these results, and say the DNA was tested at multiple facilities.
"We are not saying that Andre Jackson is innocent or is excluded as a suspect," emphasized prosecutor Tiffany Duprey. "We are just saying, at this point, if we try this case before the jury we don't feel that we could secure a conviction."
Even with other evidence, including surveillance video and eyewitness accounts that had appeared to implicate Jackson, prosecutors aren't willing to risk the case.
"Rather than risk double jeopardy by trying to go to trial in a case where the evidence is too weak – and then be forever barred from going after him, or anybody else for practical purposes – it is our decision at this time to dismiss the charges and release the man from jail," explained Berg.
Jackson's attorney says he is not surprised. He says he continues to believe in Jackson's innocence.
It's not the first let down in the Flores case. The first suspect – arrested a day after the crime – was released days later, cleared completely of all wrongdoing.
At a scheduled community meeting Tuesday night, Near Northside residents were in shock at the news of Jacksons release. They say they had planned to discuss the progress the community has made increasing safety since the crime. Now they feel a scab has been peeled off after almost a year of trying to heal.
But the Flores family is asking the community to remain calm. Flores' sister, Guadalupe, says she does not want anger and asks everyone to stay alert to protect others like her brother. Flores' father, Juan, asks his neighbors to trust the justice system. In a case that has brought forth marches and rallies in the name of justice, he now asks for patience as the ongoing investigation continues.
Anyone with additional information regarding the death of Josue Flores is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.