NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The father who has three kids is glad to clear his name. The father who lost his son to gunfire vows to fight on.

The last case of four initial co-defendants has ended in acquittal in the death of Chris Cummings.

That’s good news for Javon Doyle, visited at his job in the summer of 2021 by Norfolk detectives to find out he was wanted for a murder that happened ten years before.

That’s bad news for James Cummings, whose son Chris was shot and killed in June 2011 at the home on 42nd Street he shared with roommate Jake Carey.

As Judge Michelle Atkins read 13 straight not guilty verdicts Thursday afternoon in Doyle’s retrial, he broke down in tears. Cummings stared ahead in disappointment and disbelief.

“I’m convinced that he was involved,” Cummings said. “Unfortunately we didn’t prove our case to show that he was involved.”

Doyle was among four men arrested in the cold case homicide, along with Kwaume Edwards, Ahmad Watson and Rashad Dooley. Each was charged with the same list of felony charges including murder.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi eventually dropped the charges against Watson and Edwards, opting to prosecute Dooley and Doyle.

“The two cases that were ultimately dismissed, there were ins and outs to them, but (Dooley and Doyle) were the two stronger of the cases. We did what we could,” Fatehi said.

A hung jury caused a mistrial for Doyle last August. Dooley was convicted on three charges, including conspiracy, but not murder.

Evidence presented at Doyle’s retrial this week showed he was selling weed from the home near the ODU campus.

Watson had been connected to buying weed from Cummings and trying to rob him the month before Cummings was killed. Doyle was a long-time friend of Watson’s — but maintains he had nothing to do with the murder of Chris Cummings.

Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Cynthia Collard said in closing arguments that three witnesses claimed they saw Doyle running from the home. But it wasn’t enough to convince the jury.

Doyle took the stand Thursday morning, denying any involvement, and repeated that denial following the verdicts outside the courthouse. “I never met Chris, never met any of his guys, I’d never been to Norfolk with Ahmad or any of those guys. I don’t know anybody. I’ve never been to ODU in my life.”

“It’s not what we were hoping for,” Cummings said about the acquittals

“It’s been a long road and I’m pretty upset about it, but again it’s up to the jury to decide,” said Carey, who was severely wounded and has needed several medical procedures after being shot five times.

Fatehi says his case was hampered by a key witness who testified in in Doyle’s initial trial but not in the retrial. Kevin Lamont Ashby is a prison inmate convicted in multiple murders as part of a Newport News gang. Judge Atkins ruled he could not testify because of what’s known as a Brady violation, saying the Commonwealth failed to provide Doyle’s attorney, Emily Munn, with relevant information about Ashby.

“Not having Mr. Ashby testify weakened our case immensely,” Cummings said. “I think he felt intimidated and didn’t testify because of that. When we had the first trial he testified and he was very strong.”

Doyle, whose children are 12, 10 and 3, said he wants to get back to his family.

“This is something that’s indescribable, just the embarrassment behind this on your name,” Doyle said. “Not just for me but for my family,”

But Cummings said he’ll continue to seek justice, although it’s unclear what options he would have left.

Dooley is set to be sentenced Feb. 10 on conspiracy to commit murder and two other felony charges, the only convictions among 52 original charges brought against four suspects. He faces up to 30 years in prison.