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Murder charges dismissed in one case; defendant found not guilty in another

Murder charges were dismissed against a Buffalo man accused of shooting a guest during a birthday party last spring.

In dismissing the charges against Jermaine A. Watkins, Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk left open the option for the District Attorney’s Office to present the case again to a grand jury for consideration.

Watkins, 27, had been arrested in connection with the death of Kelvin Alexander, 24, who was shot March 20, 2016, at a gathering upstairs from a barbershop at 857 Genesee St.

Watkins pleaded not guilty to charges of murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon, and had been free on $125,000 bail while awaiting trial.

District Attorney John J. Flynn said his staff will continue to investigate the case.

In another murder case, an Erie County jury last week found Marco M. Sweat, 36, not guilty of killing a 51-year-old man who allegedly had struck him the face during a previous confrontation.

Charles Wyatt, 51, was gunned down on Sept. 2 while walking home from a laundromat.

The unarmed man was carrying a laundry bag and a cup of coffee on the bright sunny morning when he was shot on the sidewalk along East Delavan Avenue.

Prosecutors maintained that the unprovoked shooting was revenge for an incident that occurred months earlier. At that time, Sweat reportedly became upset when Wyatt complimented his girlfriend in a store. Wyatt tried to leave, but Sweat pursued him and Wyatt responded by punching Sweat in the face.

A witness near the scene on Sept. 2 testified that she saw Sweat cross into the middle of the street, raise a gun and fire the shot that brought Wyatt down. The woman, who had three children with her when she saw the shooting, tearfully testified that she then saw Sweat walk up to the fallen man and fire three more shots into his body.

The woman said she knew the victim slightly and recognized Sweat as someone she had seen around the neighborhood.

Some of the incident was recorded by surveillance cameras at local businesses, and the police and rescue response was captured on a cellphone camera by a neighbor on a porch above where Wyatt was shot. However, no cameras were pointed into the street to show the gunman firing the shots.

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