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Portsmouth prosecutors drop charges in 2015 murder case

Posted at 3:46 PM, Jul 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-28 18:23:42-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Prosecutors dropped charges, including first-degree murder, against a man for a 2015 shooting in Olde Town.

Police said Kennyon Harris shot and killed Terrence Hoggard and shot another man on November 26, 2015 outside of Roger Brown's.

Nearly seven years later, the case was set to go to trial this week, but prosecutors dropped the charges although they could later be brought back in the future.

The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office declined to comment, saying the matter remains open.

The attorney for Harris, Andrew Sacks, says the key witness in the case had credibility issues, so the prosecutors decided not to move forward with the case.

"That is unusual, but that's the right thing to do. The prosecutor's job is not just to convict, but to see that justice is done. If they conclude they don't have a case or they shouldn't proceed, it's just as important to do that as it is to pursue somebody you do believe is guilty," said Sacks.

Hoggard was just 23 when the shooting happened and was a father. His uncle told News 3 that the family is disappointed the case was dropped.

The case faced delays over the years due to the pandemic and to get test results back on evidence. "Sometimes the wheels turn slowly, but they turn. If they turn in the right direction, that's what you want," said Sacks.

Back in 2015, Sacks says many people had been gathered at Roger Brown's for a party on the night before Thanksgiving. He says Harris has always maintained his innocence and says a gun later connected to the crime scene had no link to Harris, which he says would've been said in a tiral.

"The credible evidence never supported that it was our client," said Sacks.

Harris has been in jail since 2016 and has now been released. "He's been in custody for a while. It's like being born again. He has his life back and his family and aspirations in life," said Sacks.