A new arrest has been made in the killing of a teen in east Fort Worth in October, while another suspect’s charge in the case has been dismissed, according to police and court records.
Naficy Vondrake Baker, 24, faces a capital murder charge in the broad daylight robbery and fatal shooting of Chaz Gilley, 18.
Baker was arrested by fugitive officers Wednesday, said officer Daniel Segura, police spokesman. He remained at the Mansfield Jail on Thursday with his bail set at $500,000.
James E. Murphy, 38, was initially arrested and indicted in the case, but the murder charge against him was dismissed Wednesday at prosecutorial discretion, according to Tarrant County court records.
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We are confident of James Murphy’s innocence on this crime.
District attorney’s office statement through spokeswoman Sam Jordan
Lajerrian Montae Morgan, 24, another suspect in the case who was arrested in November, still faces a capital murder charge, court records show.
In a statement through spokeswoman Sam Jordan, the district attorney’s office said information obtained through the arrest of Morgan “shed doubt on Murphy’s involvement” and a different suspect was identified.
“We are confident of James Murphy’s innocence on this crime,” the statement said.
Gilley was shot Oct. 7 as he rode his bike home on East Berry Street, police said. Investigators believed he was randomly targeted. A passerby took Gilley to a fire station, where an ambulance picked him up. He died the next day, Oct. 8, in the operating room at John Peter Smith Hospital.
‘I’m sorry he got involved in this’
The teen had gone to a Wal-Mart on Berry Street to open an account at First Convenience Bank so that he could cash his first paycheck, his mother, Chesala Markham, told the Star-Telegram.
Murphy was arrested about two weeks later. At the time, Markham said she wanted Murphy to face the death penalty for her son’s killing.
But in recent months, Markham said, prosecutors began having trouble linking Murphy to the case. She also became skeptical and eventually accepted that Murphy wasn’t involved.
“I want the ultimate justice,” Markham said. “I want the death penalty. But I don’t want somebody to die who doesn’t deserve to die.
“I’m sorry he got involved in this. I’m glad that he’s exonerated and the right person is behind bars.”
Baker was convicted in 2014 in Tarrant County on four charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and sentenced to two years in prison.
Murphy remained in the Tarrant County Jail on Thursday, facing an unrelated charge in the robbery of a game room on Oct. 14.
He has been convicted of three other felonies in Tarrant County: burglary twice and robbery.
“I really hope he takes this opportunity to change his life,” Markham said. “I want him to find the right path in life.”