LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Shannon Bertrand became a free man today-- after several years in jail awaiting trial for murder. The district attorney's office has dismissed charges against Bertrand for the murder of Marcus Mayo. But the D.A. says it's not over.
Shortly after noon, Bertrand walked away from the Calcasieu Correctional Center where he was awaiting trial for the 2007 murder of Mayo. Bertrand was once found guilty of second degree murder by Judge Wilford Carter-- but then Carter granted a motion for a new trial. And now, as a new trial was to begin, the Calcasieu District Attorney dismissed charges, but D.A. John DeRosier says not because they think they have the wrong man. "We have absolute confidence in the initial investigation that the Lake Charles police department did in this case. We think they found the right man. We tried the right man and we convicted the right man for the murder of this victim."
Prosecutors say the four or five witnesses in the case all lied in court-- and DeRosier says some may face perjury charges. "We need people who will come to court and tell the truth and we encourage these witnesses to do exactly that. Unfortunately, that did not happen in this case."
However, Bertrand's attorney Todd Clemons says his client is not guilty. "I'm glad they finally had the courage of their convictions to do the right thing. I believe this is something they should have done several months ago if not years ago because I don't think they ever had enough evidence to prove this man's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. And that's what the prosecutor's job is to prove cases beyond a reasonable doubt. They may have had a theory about what happened but they never had proof beyond a reasonable doubt."
He expresses doubt there is evidence to warrant reinstating charges.."They've had four years to investigate. Why would it take four years to investigate a crime that occurred reportedly back in 2007. So I don't think there's any evidence that they're going to find after all these years."
Marcus Mayo was shot three times, twice in the back of the head-- and his family along with law enforcement officials plead for those who know the truth to do the right think and come forward.
Judge Carter reversed Bertrand's guilty verdict last year saying that he considered improper evidence.