Prosecutors put case against Marty Cobb's accused killer on hold - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

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Prosecutors put case against Marty Cobb's accused killer on hold

Marty Cobb (Source: Victim's family) Marty Cobb (Source: Victim's family)
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney's Office drops charges against the teenager accused of killing 8-year-old Marty Cobb, for now. 

By choosing to "nolle prosequi" the charges, prosecutors effectively put the case against Mairese Washington on hold and can bring back the charges at a later date.

Washington is facing murder, strangulation and malicious wounding charges for the attack against Marty Cobb and his older sister. Family members say Marty died trying to save his sister from a sexual assault.

The Commonwealth "nolle prosequi" those charges, plus a first degree murder charge Washington was never arraigned on.

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"We are going forward zealously and we will do everything in our power to make sure Mr. Washington is never in the position to do anything like this again," Richmond City Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Herring told NBC12 Friday.

Prosecutors say with certainty this case will be prosecuted, but asked the judge for a delay Friday due to the timing of the prosecution. They are awaiting some additional lab analysis and believe it would be irresponsible to move forward with the case without completing those tests. 

A large number of items have been submitted for forensic testing. Many of those tests have come back with somewhat limited information. The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office says because of the gravity of the case, it wants to make sure it has thorough evidence to support Marty's sister's testimony and prosecute Washington with all the information available.

"We didn't want to go to trial though with evidence that might yield some results that could be useable in this case because at its heart is a surviving 12-year-old victim," says Herring.

NBC12 Legal Analyst Steve Benjamin, is not associated with this case, but calls Friday's move: strategic. 

He says it temporarily gives the Commonwealth more time.

"When somebody is indicted, speedy trial rights kick in and if the prosecution isn't completely prepared to go to trial, they've got to be mindful, that clock is running," explains Benjamin.

The Commonwealth says lab results should be in within the next six to eight-weeks. Herring says at that point, he should have a better idea on a new trial date. 

A judge has ordered a mental evaluation for Washington, who underwent a competency evaluation for juvenile court. Defense attorneys believe Washington's mental state will be a significant part of his defense.


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