DURHAM: Charges dropped in murder of 13-year-old Durham girl - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Charges dropped against one in death of 13-year-old Durham girl

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Police arrested Brandon Townsend in May 2012 for the death of Shakanah China. Police arrested Brandon Townsend in May 2012 for the death of Shakanah China.
DURHAM, N.C. -

After 682 days in jail, one of two men charged in the killing of a 13-year-old Durham girl walked out of jail Wednesday.

Durham District Attorney Leon Stanback dropped charges against Brandon Townsend in the death of Shakanah China. Stanback said the charges were dropped for a number of reasons including DNA evidence arriving late from the SBI.

Townsend’s trial was scheduled to begin Monday.

Shakanah China was killed May 10, 2011 when someone fired shots from a van at a group of people in front of a home on Atka Court in Durham.

Police arrested Townsend and Levette Lipscomb in May 2012 for the death of Shakanah China. Charges against Lipscomb were not dropped.

Shakanah China’s family members said they feel like authorities didn’t do their job in the case.

“They had enough time to find everything that they wanted to find. So, I feel like nobody's not doing their job. That's how I feel," said Shakanah China’s mother Demetriss. “Ya'll let him sit in there almost two years, then ya'll said you got evidence, turned around said ya'll don't have nothing. So, basically I feel like they wasted my time and his time to be honest."

Townsend’s defense attorney maintains his client is innocent in the case saying he has an alibi.

“It says to me that they had to admit at that point that they had no case. That they lacked evidence against my client and they didn't even have enough evidence to try to explain to a judge why this case should continue," said attorney Scott Holmes.

Holmes said this is just another example of Durham police arresting a suspect on little or no evidence.

Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez released a statement about the arrest of Townsend saying the arrest was based on probable cause.

The SBI said approximately 50 pieces of evidence in the case were submitted to the crime lab by Durham authorities over a period of 29 months. Authorities submitted a final order on Oct. 31, 2013.

The SBI said its lab did not know this case was going to court this week until it was in the news.

Shakanah China’s family says Lipscomb is due in court in July.

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Justin Quesinberry

Justin is a reporter for WNCN and a North Carolina native. He has spent the better part of the last decade covering the news in central North Carolina. 

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