Charges against two men who were being held in a double murder in Weldon last year have been dismissed and the town’s police department will have to launch a new investigation into the case, according to documents filed with the Halifax County Clerk of Court Office.
Family members for one of the men charged, Jason Keith Alston, had provided the district attorney’s office with phone records showing the 39-year-old Weldon man was in Ohio working a construction job when, on April 6, Levita Romane Webb, 41, and Dexter O’Neal Miles, 52, were shot and killed in the 400 block of Chestnut Street. A third victim in the shooting survived, police said at the time.
While District Attorney Valerie M. Asbell said today she could not ethically comment on an ongoing homicide case, she did direct rrspin.com to the dismissal forms for both Alston and Omar Daquan Ponton, 29.
The dismissal forms were signed by Assistant District Attorney Keith Werner Wednesday and were filed by the clerk’s office on the same day.
According to the dismissal form for Alston, it is noted that there is insufficient evidence to warrant prosecution because after the charges were filed additional evidence came to light showing that the defendant was not in the state of North Carolina at the time of the crime.
The document also says a second interview of the surviving victim shows conflicting stories in how the crime occurred and there is no corroborating evidence existing to reinforce the victim’s current statement regarding the defendant.
Further investigation of the crime needs to be done by law enforcement, the form says.
A Super 8 motel registration shows that Alston checked into the Twinsburg, Ohio facility on April 5 around 2 p.m. and checked out on April 9 around 11 a.m.
Phone records made before the man and woman were shot and killed place Alston in Pennsylvania on April 5 and then in Ohio shortly before noon. On April 6 a series of phone calls were placed from Twinsburg, Macedonia and Solon as well as other places in the state.
Alston’s sister J’Mia Wade worked with other members of the family to provide the evidence on her brother’s behalf.
Today she said, "God is good and is looking out for us even when we don't realize it. God placed my brother in Ohio for a contract job and if my brother had been any closer to home and not in Ohio at the time of the murder, I don't know if he would be home with us today. I want to thank the DA’s office — Keith Werner and Roger Echols — for their due diligence in investigating the evidence my family provided to clear my brother. I pray that the individual (or individuals) responsible for this horrible crime be caught so that the Webb and Miles families receive justice."
The dismissal form for Ponton says there is no evidence which exists that shows he actually committed the crime and no evidence that the defendant participated in the commission of the crime.
Weldon police Chief Christopher Davis also confirmed that Alston and Ponton were released.
“The DA called and said that it was their intention to drop the charges against (them) in lieu of evidence that would include phone records which show that he (Alston) was out of state at the time.”
At the time of their arrests last week, Davis said investigators had the probable cause to take the charges out. “We didn’t have the information presented to us recently before Mr. Alston’s arrest. Once we received that information we have worked diligently to verify the information and we have worked closely with the DA’s office.”
Davis said, “The Weldon Police Department wishes to extend its sincere apologies to Mr. Alston and Mr. Ponton and their families and that their arrests at the time were based on the best information that we had. We assure the families of the victims that we will continue to diligently investigate this case.”