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Attempted murder charge dropped in Kearns shooting

Published May 16, 2012 4:01 pm

Courts • Defense attorney says there isn't enough evidence.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

An attempted murder charge against a man accused in a February shooting in Kearns has been dropped because prosecutors say they cannot move forward with the case.

Billy Lee Rohwedder, 33, was released from the Salt Lake County jail Wednesday after a 3rd District judge granted a defense motion to dismiss the attempted murder charge and two other felony counts.

"Billy has maintained his innocence since Day 1," defense attorney Cara Tangaro said.

Rohwedder appeared in 3rd District on Tuesday for a preliminary hearing. That's when prosecutors said they were unable to proceed with the hearing and Tangaro asked Judge Dennis Fuchs to dismiss the case.

The case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning prosecutors could chose to re-file the charges later.

"It's our position that there's not enough evidence to go forward," Tangaro said. "This is an extremely difficult case to prosecute and pin on someone. There really are no witnesses. They don't have a confession. They were looking at quite a few suspects when they were originally investigating this."

On Feb. 9, police found a man on the road near 4500 West and 4865 South, lying in a pool of blood. According to court documents, the man had been shot in the right side of the head.

Six blocks away, police found a car parked on the wrong side of the road. The car's window had been broken and there was blood inside the car.

A witness told police that Rohwedder was inside the car with the victim a short time earlier. In the hospital, the victim told police the last thing he remembered was driving in the car with Rohwedder in the passenger seat.

"It's obviously a sad case for the victim and Billy has always felt that," Tangaro said. "Unfortunately, they need to find the person who did it."

afalk@sltrib.com