MURPHYSBORO, Ill. (KFVS) - A southern Illinois man accused of killing a 21-year-old mother in 2007 was set free Monday after a judge threw out a first-degree murder charge against him.
Jackson County Circuit Judge Ronald Eckiss threw out the charge against Elijah Lacy, 25, according to states attorney Mike Wepseic. The judge ruled the unavailability of a prosecution witness would violate Lacy's right to a speedy trial.
The witness will be unable to participate because he is serving with the National Guard in Afghanistan.
Falon Taylor's mother says she has been waiting for her day in court and the news that Taylor's accused killer could go free is upsetting.
"I'm just crushed, my child is gone and Elijah gets to go home to his family and my child she is never coming home," Angela Hopkins said.
As the court date grew closer, Hopkins says she grew even more impatient but anxious too.
"It was something I dreaded and it's because I needed to go through this process to find justice and as you can see today justice wasn't served."
Hopkins says she isn't going to give up on her daughter and will continue to fight for justice.
"I'm not giving up until the very last moment. I'm not going to give up as long as we have a chance. I'm going to still fight," Hopkins said.
She won't be alone.
Prosecutors said they would appeal the ruling, insisting Lacy's defense should take some of the responsibility for the delays.
Prosecutors alleged Lacy broke in to a Carbondale home on Jan. 6, 2007, and killed Falon Taylor after firing shots into the bedroom in which Taylor was sleeping.
Mayor Brad Cole issued the following statement:
"We are obviously disturbed by the ruling to dismiss on a technicality. The City of Carbondale Police Department works hard to pursue all individuals responsible for crimes and, while we believe in and respect the judicial process, we feel strongly that the victims deserve their day in court. We will continue to actively seek closure on unresolved murders and other crimes and we encourage anyone with information to come forward to assist us in that effort."