Smyrna shooting trial dismissed

DOVER — Citing “insufficient evidence,” a prosecutor asked for and received dismissal of case against a 21-year-old Smyrna man on trial regarding an injurious shooting incident just over a year ago.

Devante L. Blocker was charged with multiple felonies regarding a late night confrontation on Nov. 5, 2018 in the 400 block of Baldwin Drive in Smyrna. Two men were wounded during the exchange, including one who required a partial leg amputation and testified Tuesday.

The morning began Wednesday with a closed door meeting between the lawyers and Superior Court Judge Jeffrey C. Clark.

Deputy Attorney General Lindsay A. Taylor returned to the courtroom about 90 minutes later with the request to cease prosecution. The jury never entered the courtroom in a trial session scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

Mr. Blocker had pleaded not guilty to felony assault and reckless endangering, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and second-degree conspiracy. While the prosecution did not maintain that Mr. Blocker had fired a weapon, they deemed him an accomplice for his alleged role.

His attorney Zachary A. George said Mr. Blocker was surprised by the shooting and never held, fired or brought a firearm to the scene.
On Tuesday, a co-defendant pleaded guilty to charges and received 6 1/2 years in prison followed by decreasing probation.

Following the dismissal, Mr. Blocker shook Mr. George’s hand and thanked him. Mr. Blocker and two others were escorted out of the Kent Courthouse by security personnel.
Persons connected to the wounded man who testified earlier left the courthouse Wednesday before the dismissal was announced in court.

DAG Taylor declined comment beyond her brief remarks made before the judge.
Mr. George said he was “happy for Mr. Blocker and his family.
“This is an example of the justice system at work. We appreciate the Court, the jury and also the prosecutor.”

The trial had previous start dates of April 15 and 29, June 3, July 29 and Sept. 17 delayed.

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