Fort Bend County murder suspect acquitted of murder charge after 5 years

FORT BEND, Texas (KTRK) -- A Fort Bend Co. man has been cleared of any wrongdoing nearly five years after he was accused of murder.

Brandon Coleman was acquitted Monday following a directed verdict in the court of Fort Bend County District Judge James Shoemake.

The judge tells Eyewitness News that this is only the second directed verdict he's ever issued in his 11 years on the bench.

In an informal poll of the jury, every single juror agreed that Coleman should be acquitted, he adds.

Coleman was arrested following the 2013 murder of 20-year-old George Kemp.

Kemp was shot to death in the Lakemont subdivision near the Westpark Tollway and South Mason Road.

Investigators say an eyewitness previously identified Coleman as one of the shooters, but at trial that same eyewitness could not identify Coleman in court as the person who he saw pull the trigger.

"In essence he said that's not the guy," said Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey.

That was a problem for prosecutors.

Healey says it's not unusual to try cases with only one-eyewitness testimony.

He adds that prisons are full of inmates convicted in such cases.

"This was crucial to this particular case. It's not unusual that you try cases with one eyewitness whose testimony you have to have in order to prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt," Healey said.

Coleman insists he was home the night of Kemp's murder and had nothing to do with it.

Attorneys Leigh Love and Michael Elliott say this case and the verdict will remain with them always, because they know of the impact it will have on Coleman and his son, who will be born in September.

Coleman is thankful for his attorneys, the judge and jury who saw past the allegations and focused on the evidence.

"They gave me a chance, a chance at life," said Coleman.

The Kemp family says they are "devastated" by the verdict. They remember him as a son, brother, uncle and grandson. They tell Eyewitness News they will continue to "be a beacon to the community by assisting other families who have lost a child to gun violence."

Two other people were arrested in connection with Kemp's murder.

Corey Coleman is serving 34 years in prison for his role in the murder. Brandon Lacour goes to trial later this year.
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