Houston activists speak after murder charges dropped against teen

Murder charges have been dropped against a teen accused in the shooting of a store clerk in Humble after a grand jury's "no-bill" ruling.

During a press conference, the defense attorney and a civil rights leader expressed their views on the case and imparted a message to the community.

"Silly, foolish, adolescent, ignominious behavior can get you caught up in something that can rob you for the rest of your life," Quanell X said.

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Seventeen-year-old Mario Young was exonerated when the grand jury returned the "no bill" decision, effectively disposing of the case and the murder charge against him.

Lott Brooks, Young's defense attorney, commented on the emotional turmoil experienced by his client. "He is very unhappy with what happened to that man," Brooks said, referring to the killing of 42-year-old Asif Maknojia in January.

Court documents indicated Maknojia had pursued Young and another teenager after they allegedly stole a bag of chips.

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Civil rights activist Quanell X argued, "This man took it upon himself to chase those young men down, approached them with a gun, and it was self-defense, and that's why both of these young men were exonerated."

While expressing condolences to the Maknojia family, supporters of Young emphasized relief over the grand jury's decision.

Precious Ferguson, the teen's mother, highlighted the emotional distress her son is facing: "He’s mentally and physically depressed, stressed. He’s going to need some counseling."


Dr. Candice Matthews, speaking on the perils of making poor decisions, advised, "You have to make the right choices because one wrong decision will haunt you for the rest of your life."

Quanell X agreed with Matthews, adding, "Brothers got to get some jobs or make some jobs for yourself. Let’s not make excuses for criminal behavior."

The Harris County District Attorney's Office retains the option to present the case to another grand jury and potentially re-file charges.