A Las Vegas district attorney dropped a murder charge against a 16-year-old boy after authorities admit they made a mistake in identifying the suspect.
Patrick Wayne Harper was buying a slushie and heading to a high school football game when Andrea Lafon, 20, was shot in the head two miles away during a drug deal gone wrong, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported.
Multiple coaches and students corroborated his alibi and yet he was still arrested and charged in the murder, Harper’s attorney said.
A witness told police the shooter was a man who goes by “Patrick too Livee,” according to a police report. When authorities contacted the Clark County School District police they provided North Las Vegas police with Patrick Wayne Harper’s name and a year-old photo of the teen.
When that picture was shown to a witness they would not identify the teen, the arrest report said. The picture was shown to someone else in the investigation, but that name was reportedly redacted from the arrest report.
After being locked up for 11 days, the Clark County district attorney’s office dropped the charge against Harper on Tuesday.
Harper told KTNV that he doesn’t know why police pinned the murder on him, but he just wants his life to go back to normal.
"I'm stressed right now. I'm tired. I can't really get the sleep I want,” he said. “The attention I'm getting is not right, and I feel like it shouldn't be focused on me. It should be on the one who actually killed the girl.”
Harper says he didn't even know Lafon.
North Las Vegas police maintain that he is still a suspect in her death.
"The surveillance video has surfaced, but in our opinion it doesn't complete exonerate him of these charges," Sgt. Chrissie Coon told KTNV.
"A 20 year-old woman has lost her life and there is still a family out there who is mourning her death and a murderer who is not behind bars," Coon said.
Although the time stamp on the video says otherwise, North Las Vegas investigators maintain that eyewitness testimony puts Harper at the scene.