Charges on teen dropped

Published 12:01 am Saturday, November 3, 2007

NATCHEZ — The charge of murder against Brittani D. Kelly was dropped Friday.

A grand jury indicted Kelly, who was 16 years old at the time, in November for the murder of her mother, Jacqueline Thompson, 35, who was shot Sept. 24 in her house on Proby Road.

The state’s motion to drop the charges says that the case needs more investigation.

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Law enforcement and the prosecution have been working on the case but just don’t have enough evidence to go to trial, District Attorney Ronnie Harper said Friday.

“The sheriff’s office worked diligently developing additional evidence,” Harper said. “But after careful consideration, and in the interest of justice, we don’t think it would be prudent to proceed to trial at this time.”

The investigation won’t stop, though, Harper said.

“(The sheriff’s office) is working it very hard,” Harper said. “I anticipate a resolution at some time, I just can’t say when.”

The charges were dropped “without prejudice,” meaning charges can be filed again against Kelly or anyone else in connection with the case.

“Nobody has been eliminated as a suspect,” Harper said.

Investigators are having a difficult time because potential witnesses are not cooperating, Sheriff Ronny Brown said.

“We had enough evidence to go to the grand jury and get an indictment,” Brown said. “Since then, some of the things we had just haven’t panned out. It’s just hard to get anything out of them. They’ve got us at a standstill right now.”

Brown said his investigators would continue to work on the case, talking with potential witnesses and gathering the evidence they can. He even sees a possible silver lining to the charges being dropped.

“This may make somebody come forward who wants to see justice done,” Brown said. “That’s what we need.”

Kelly, 17, was out on $120,000 bond, from which she will be released.