UPDATED at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday with comment by the attorney for Ke'Shuan Jones.
WELLSTON — A St. Louis County judge on Monday dismissed charges against a Wellston man in a 2019 murder case because prosecutors were unable to persuade witnesses to cooperate, officials say.
Charges of first-degree murder, assault and armed criminal action were dropped against Ke'Shuan "Tank" Jones, 20, in the May 13, 2019, shooting death of Koreyion Brown.
Chris King, a spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell, cited "unavailability and lack of cooperation of essential witnesses" for the court's dismissal.
Last year, Jones' public defender filed a motion for a speedy trial, which establishes a 180-day deadline for having a trial for defendants detained without bail. But jury trials have been suspended in St. Louis County Circuit Court for months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Last month his lawyer, Paulette M. Pagán, filed a motion to dismiss the charges.
"Along with the speedy trial request, we took the necessary action to reveal the lack of evidence in this case," she said in a statement. "Mr. Jones was imprisoned for nearly a year and a half on these allegations. Ultimately the court dismissed all charges after the state answered (it was) not ready to proceed with trial."
Jones was charged with fatally shooting Brown, 19, in the 1500 block of Wellston Place. His body was found in a lot behind a vacant building. Jones was arrested in Arizona about two months after Brown's death.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the length of time allotted for a defendant seeking a speedy trial. The story has been updated.