ST. LOUIS – Charges were dismissed against a Dawan Ferguson, a man accused of killing his own child, but were refiled the next day. It’s the latest twist impacting a high-profile missing child case.
Christian Ferguson is still missing. Family members and police have been searching for 16 years.
He was 9 years old when he left with his dad, Dawan Ferguson, and was never seen again.
In June 2003, Dawan called 911 from a payphone reporting someone carjacked his SUV with Christian inside. Police later found the SUV but not Christian. He had a genetic disorder and investigators say he wouldn’t survive 72 hours without the proper medicine.
Last year, the St. Louis County prosecutor filed a murder charge against Dawan Ferguson. Christian’s mother, Theda Person, stood behind law enforcement for the announcement.
“I knew that justice was on its way, but I’m in shock,” Person said at the time.
Judge Nancy Watkins-McLaughlin was set to hear a defense argument next week over disputed evidence. The trial was to begin in March. That entire schedule will now be thrown out, because Assistant St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert Steele dismissed the murder charge against Dawan Ferguson and refiled it the next day.
FOX 2 asked defense attorney Joel Schwartz for possible reasons, because it’s happened to his former clients.
“There’s two reasons that I can think of – one is judge shopping. They’re not happy with ruling the judge has made or they’re simply not comfortable with that judge, so you dismiss and refile delaying the process,” Schwartz said. “Or at the time of trial, your motions or witnesses aren’t available. Is it illegal? No. Is it ok? I would argue no. It’s delaying the process and in most cases the individual is confined.”
A spokesman for the St. Louis County prosecutor’s office said the move is simply procedural.
When pressed, he said that’s all he can say until after trial, but he was adamant it’s not about shopping for a different judge.
The move will delay the Dawan Ferguson case for months potentially, as everything starts over, from the selection of a judge to a new grand jury, and an entirely new arraignment.
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