Last week, the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office withdrew murder charges against a man it determined to be innocent.
Tahmir Craig was charged with the Memorial Day killing of Devon Williams after several witnesses identified him as the man seen in a surveillance photo. Craig maintained his innocence, saying he was with his family at the time of the murder. This story could have easily ended in a conviction and life sentence for Craig. But District Attorney Jack Whelan, after prodding from Craig’s family and attorney, continued his investigation. An FBI analysis of the surveillance photos determined that Craig was innocent: The shooter stood about six inches taller than Craig. Responding quickly, Whelan dropped all charges against Craig and he was released from prison. The case remains under investigation, as police try to identify the murderer still on the loose.
Tahmir Craig had luck – both bad and good. Bad in being arrested for a crime another committed, but good in that police and prosecutors engaged in good law-enforcement work. They did not let Craig’s arrest serve as the end of the investigation. A manifest injustice was averted, and an innocent man freed. This is what we might call a “near miss.”