Charges dismissed in dragging death

June 4, 2009 3:21:30 PM PDT
A defense attorney says charges have been dismissed against two white men accused of killing a black man in a racially charged dragging death in East Texas. Attorney Ben Massar said Shannon Finley and Charles Crostley were released from jail in Paris Thursday afternoon after a judge granted the special prosecutor's motion to dismiss the case. The men had been charged with fatally striking 24-year-old Brandon McClelland in September following a late-night beer run by the trio to Oklahoma.

The case had been unraveling in recent months because of a lack of eyewitnesses and physical evidence. Last month, a gravel truck driver gave a sworn statement acknowledging he might have accidentally run over McClelland.

Protesters upset over the man's death compared it to the East Texas dragging death of James Byrd in Jasper 11 years ago.

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