CROWN POINT — The Lake County Prosecutor's Office dismissed attempted murder charges against a 20-year-old man accused last year of wounding three men in a suspected drug-related shooting, court records state.
Jaron Johnson had his charges, which included three counts of attempted murder and numerous felony battery offenses, dismissed Thursday in Lake Criminal Court, court records state.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kathleen Kurowski said in her motion to dismiss her office made several attempts to contact the three men allegedly shot by Johnson Dec. 14, 2016, at a residence in the 3600 block of Van Buren Street in Gary. However, the men were not cooperating with the prosecution, she said.
“Without the cooperation and testimony of (the victims), the State is unable to meet its strict and heavy burden of proving this case beyond a reasonable doubt,” Kurowski wrote.
The victims previously told authorities they were together at the residence with two other men, one of whom wanted to purchase marijuana, records state.
One victim said the suspect left the room to use the bathroom and when he returned he began firing a black handgun, records state. The victim said he was shot in the leg and groin while attempting to wrestle the gun away from the suspect. The other two men were also shot during the altercation, records state.
Gore, Sykes and Watson claimed they could not identify the suspect, but a fourth man in the room at the time of the shooting identified Johnson as the shooter in a photo lineup.
Kurowski requested Judge Diane Boswell dismiss the case without prejudice, meaning it could be refiled at a later date.
Boswell agreed to dismiss the case without prejudice at a court hearing Thursday, records state. Johnson, who has been in Lake County Jail since May 2017 on a $185,000 surety bond, was ordered to be released from custody.
Johnson was represented by defense attorney Ralph Staples. Staples did not respond Monday to a request for comment.