NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Charges have been dismissed for one of the four men accused in the 2011 killing of Old Dominion student Chris Cummings.
Kwaume Edwards had all of his charges in connection to the case dismissed in a pre-trial hearing Friday.
Edwards was one of the four suspects indicted on 15 charges, including first-degree murder, in the death of Cummings, the nephew of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings. Cummings’ roommate was also shot, but survived.
The case was cold for years, until work from Norfolk detectives and the U.S. Marshals led to four arrests in August 2020.
Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi reacted to the decision stating while they respect the Circuit Court’s pretrial ruling decisions, they disagree with some of them.
Read Fatehi’s full statements below:
“We are disappointed that we are unable to move forward with Mr. Edwards’s case. While we respect the pretrial rulings of the Circuit Court, we respectfully disagree with some of them, particularly the Court’s decisions to deny our motion for a dismissal without prejudice and our motion to continue the trial—both of which we believe were in the interests of justice—and the Court’s conclusions regarding our motivations.
However, Virginia law provides no way for prosecutors to appeal these types of decisions, only the defense, and therefore we were left with no viable path forward, leaving a dismissal with prejudice as our only option. We acknowledge that we made procedural mistakes in the case and that we fell short of our standards for ourselves, but we have acted in good faith.
While the case against Mr. Edwards is over, the trials of three other individuals remain pending. I was not involved in the decision of the previous administration to indict the four individuals in this case, a decision made without my input and before I was elected Commonwealth’s Attorney. Prior to the remaining trials, I intend to reexamine the strength of the evidence from scratch.
The individuals pending trial are presumed to be innocent and are absolutely entitled to a fair trial. While I would like to speak more fully regarding this case, I must honor those individuals’ rights and my ethical obligations, and, in the interest of justice, reserve my other comments until those cases are concluded.”Ramin Fatehi, Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney
Edwards is still currently serving a sentence for a 2014 murder in Newport News. He’s not scheduled to be released until 2029.
The other three suspects however will have their cases go to trial.
Rashad Dooley’s trial is expected to start on Sept. 7. The trial for Javon Doyle is set to start August 23, and the trial for Ahmad Watson is set for Sept. 20.