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Feds won’t retry three men in two cold case murders

Thamud Eldridge, Kevin Allen and Galen Rose are going to prison, but not for murder.

A federal court jury found the three men guilty of several felony charges last month but, for the most part, deadlocked over their role in the cold case killings of Thedrus “Flap” Laster and Sam “Smokey” Jones Jr.

Federal prosecutors could retry Eldridge, Allen and Rose, but indicated Monday they have no plans to do so.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Tripi said the government is confident the three defendants will get significant prison sentences despite the jury’s inability to reach a verdict on most of the murder charges. The one exception was Eldridge, who was found not guilty of taking part in Laster’s murder.

Tripi wants U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to hold the unresolved charges in abeyance until after the defendants’ appeals on their convictions are decided. If the convictions are upheld, Tripi said the government will not retry Eldridge, Allen and Rose on the unresolved charges.

The verdict, which came after six full days of deliberations last month, left the jury split on Eldridge’s and Allen’s roles in the Jones murder and Rose’s role in the Laster killing.

Laster, 35, was shot and killed during an April 2005 robbery in a Delaware Avenue apartment where he kept marijuana and cash. A few days later, Jones, another drug dealer, was shot and killed during a robbery in the basement of a home on Newburgh Avenue.

Despite the non-verdicts on the murder charges, the jury did find Eldridge and Allen guilty of racketeering conspiracy, firearms possession and robbery charges. Rose was found guilty of drug charges.

Originally a death penalty case, the government’s prosecution of Eldridge, Allen and Rose was viewed early on as the first concrete effort to identify and prosecute the killers of Laster and Jones. The Department of Justice later withdrew the death penalty designation.