A judge Tuesday threw out murder and attempted murder charges against a man accused of killing a rival musician
Because a key witness could not be found, District Judge Jackie Glass dismissed criminal charges against Rontu Elam, who was indicted last year in the slaying of Roosevelt “Mr. Looks” Hines, 33, in June 2005 outside a music studio.
Another man, Thomas Richardson, was shot and wounded in the incident. Richardson later identified Elam as the shooter and testified before a Clark County grand jury. Authorities could not find him.
Elam, who wept after Glass announced that the charges were being dropped, declined to comment. He was scheduled to go to trial next week.
“I don’t think the judge had a choice,” said one of his attorneys, Deputy Special Public Defender Ivette Maningo.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Giancarlo Pesci told Glass that authorities issued a material witness warrant for Richardson and interviewed his relatives. The relatives, who had a falling out with Richardson, said he is afraid to testify, Pesci said.
He said prosecutors could not go forward with the case without Richardson because he is the only eyewitness.
Richardson did not show up for an April 14, 2006, preliminary hearing, and the case against Elam was dismissed. A grand jury later indicted him after Richardson testified.
In the grand jury proceeding, Richardson said he had been friends with Hines for several years. They were in a rap group and often rehearsed at Dunjun Studio on Western Avenue near Sahara Avenue. He said he and Hines were shot outside the studio.