Prosecutors: Mother on mission to murder witnesses in son’s tria -

Prosecutors: Mother on mission to murder witnesses in son’s trial

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Latasha Mopkins (Left), Cortez McClinton (Upper left), Travon Knighten (upper right), Frederick Mopkins (bottom left), Tyrell Davidson (bottom right) Latasha Mopkins (Left), Cortez McClinton (Upper left), Travon Knighten (upper right), Frederick Mopkins (bottom left), Tyrell Davidson (bottom right)
Tyrell Davidson Tyrell Davidson

ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( – Nine months after charges were dropped against a suspect in a 2013 St. Louis homicide, the suspect is again charged, along with the suspect’s mother and three others in connection with the deaths of two witnesses in the case.

Tyrell Davidson was released from jail in November, 2015, after prosecutors chose not to pursue his case any further. Davidson was the suspect in the September, 2013 slaying of Chauncey Brown, a 16-year-old who had attended a teen party at Club 187 the night of his death. While outside of the club, prosecutors say Brown and a friend, James Moore, were chased by a Dodge Charger. Shots were fired and Brown was shot in the chest, killing him.

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On October 22, 2013, James Moore was fatally shot in Barrett Brothers Park. Moore was with his younger brother at the time of the shooting, but only James was chased and shot, prosecutors say.

Months later, prosecutors say Noah Barnes was fatally shot. Barnes, who prosecutors say was in Davidson’s car at the time of Chauncey Brown’s death, had been shot in the head, torso and extremities. He was found dead in the 1900 block of Clara Avenue on April 22, 2014.

"I had fear for everybody. All the kids that were even around this young man," said Deadra Rounds, Brown's mother.

As the case against Davidson continued, prosecutors said other witnesses were no longer willing to testify against him. In October, 2015, Davidson was released and charges were dropped.

Read: Prosecutors drop charges related to 2013 shooting death

"At first I kind if felt 'Wow, he's going home. That pissed me off real bad," said Rounds.

Investigators later determined that the death of the two witnesses was orchestrated by Davidson’s mother, Latasha Mopkins, according to court records obtained by News 4. Those records indicate Mopkins enlisted the help of Frederick Mopkins and Cortez McClinton with ensuring Davidson’s case was dropped.

Prosecutors allege Latasha Mopkins recruited McClinton and Frederick Mopkins to murder Moore and Barnes. Frederick Mopkins also, allegedly, recruited Travon Knighten to help with the murder of James Moore.

Court records show all five suspects are in custody and are being held without bond. McClinton was convicted of murder in 2014 that happened during a home invasion.

Read: Man convicted of murder for 2014 Bevo neighborhood home invasion

Prosecutors say this case is a first-of-its-kind for the Circuit Attorney’s Office. After charges were initially dropped against Davidson, Lead Homicide Prosecutor Mary Pat Carl brought the case to the CAO’s Crime Strategies Unit.

That unit was created more than a year ago after Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce traveled to other jurisdictions to learn about best practices in prosecution. Prosecutors say these charges are the direct result of work of the Crime Strategies Unit, which is a team of attorneys and investigators who comb social media, conduct additional investigation and witness interviews and piece together evidence for cases.  

Chief Trial Assistant Beth Orwick tells News 4, the Crime Strategies Unit worked hundreds of hours on this case.

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