Charges dropped against 3 men in connection with Machole Stewart - KCTV5 News

Charges dropped against 3 men in connection with Machole Stewart case

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Machole Stewart. (Family photo) Machole Stewart. (Family photo)

A Wyandotte County judge has dismissed charges against three young men accused of killing a 10-year-old Kansas City girl in 2014.

Police made the three arrests in the fall of last year.

Tommy Benson, Cedric Sanders, and Donald Martis were charged with first-degree murder.

The past two days have been spent in preliminary hearings to determine if the case would go to trial.

In court on Friday, the judge said there wasn’t sufficient probable cause to go to trial and dismissed the charges.

On Oct. 26, 2014, Machole Stewart was watching a Royals game at her mother’s house when there was a drive-by shooting. A bullet came into the home, struck her, and killed her.

In court, the judge said this was a feud between two gangs and that, while there was evidence to connect weapons used in the shooting to others, there was not enough evidence to tie the three suspects.

“I believe the judge made the right decision,” said Gary Stone, Tommy Benson’s defense attorney. “Sometimes fairness doesn't always seem fair, but the law is what's important and, in this case, the state wasn't able to present enough evidence to bind these gentlemen over for trial.”

A statement was released from the District Attorney’s Office that said:

“We respectfully accept the judge’s decision in this case. Our duty is to pursue justice. It should be noted our justice system is only as strong as the community it serves. It is our hope the community comes forward with additional information and be willing to come to court. Our office, in collaboration with the police department, will continue to pursue justice for Machole Stewart and victims of any crime in Wyandotte County.”

The judge did add that the three men could still face charges in the future. Prosecutors can file charges again, if and when they get more evidence.

KCTV5 News will continue to follow along with this case and bring you the latest details as they become available.

Previous coverage:

3 arrests made in drive-by shooting death of Machole Stewart

Family mourns after 3rd young relative is shot, killed

1 year later, Machole Stewart's family still searching for answers as police search for killer

Community marches for girl,10, killed in drive-by shooting

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