DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - DeKalb County prosecutors say a judge acquitted two murder suspects without a trial playing out.
Stephen McAllister and Quintez Griffin are charged in a November 2018 shooting. It happened inside of the Mille at Brookhaven Apartments on Barone Avenue. Investigators say it happened during a robbery.
The two victims rushed to the Waffle House on Clairmont Road. Workers called 911. One man survived. Carthel Johnson, 25, died.
On Thursday, Dekalb County Judge Shondeana Morris heard the final day of motions in the one and only trial. Because the prosecution's two key witnesses were no where to be found, prosecutors say they asked Judge Morris for a continuance. The request made five times. Each one was denied.
"It was definitely a disservice to the citizens of DeKalb County and it was a disservice to our victim and the family of our victim," District Attorney Sherry Boston told FOX 5's Kerry Charles. "When we walk into court and say we don't have the evidence and we're asking to dismiss a case in an effort to make sure we can seek justice that should in every circumstance be recognized by the court."
Judge Morris issued a directed verdict which makes prosecution at a later date nearly impossible.
"Rest assured, my team is not finished," says D.A. Boston. "We may not have gotten justice today, but we certainly intend to get justice in the future."
Prosecutors want to see McAllister and Griffin convicted on the charges against them -- felony murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
"Had they not been held for charges in other matters outside DeKalb County, they would have walked out this courthouse today as free men."
FOX 5 reached out to Judge Morris' office. Our calls were not returned.
Prosecutors believe their witnesses are in California. That's where they say material witness warrants have been issued.