NORFOLK, Va (WAVY) — A Norfolk judge dropped charges against a Newport News man accused in the cold case murder of an Old Dominion University student.
Last August, Norfolk police arrested four men for the 2011 deadly shooting of Christopher Cummings inside his home just off campus.
Thursday morning, charges were dropped for 30-year-old Ahmad Watson. Last month, charges for Kwaume Edwards were also dropped.
Watson spent nearly a year behind bars. “It was the worst thing I have been through in my whole life,” he told 10 On Your Side.
Watson’s attorney, Michael Massie, accused prosecutors of misconduct.
“They sought an indictment because they thought he would flip and that he would cooperate with them and help convict other people,” he told 10 On Your Side.
Massie said prosecutors needed to do something to move the high-profile case. Cummings was the nephew of United States Congressman Elijah Cummings, who passed away in 2019.
“We’re going to look at our options to see about a civil lawsuit,” Massie said.
Inside the hearing, Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi said he would not have indicted Watson based on the evidence. The charges came down before Fatehi took office. He would not comment further outside of court. He said he could not, as charges are still pending against two other defendants, Javon Doyle and Rashad Dooley.
Massie said prosecutors either did it on purpose or were neglectful.
“When you look and read all the materials and watch all the videos, there’s not a single witness in the case that points to him being involved in this murder case. There’s just not one,” he said.
Massie said the Cummings family also suffered.
“It’s not good to have something like this lingering and giving this family false hope.”
Watson will celebrate his 31st birthday on Saturday. He said that although he feels blessed, “It ruined my reputation and I got two little kids. They were going through a lot when I was in there so it’s just a lot and I’m overwhelmed right now.”
James and Rosa Cummings have traveled to Norfolk many times over the last decade to talk to the media and police in hopes of finding the person who took their son from them.
“I was made aware that the charges were probably going to be dropped on Tuesday evening,” said James, Chris’ father. “This is a huge disappointment especially since the charges were also dismissed against the alleged shooter in the case.”
James added that they have faith in the DA’s office that they will be able to make a strong case against Doyle when his trial begins in August.
“Detective Jon Smith and others have worked tirelessly to get justice for Chris. Now prosecutor Collard will have to do the same, and I have faith that she will. “
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