Miami-Dade teen arrested in fatal shooting of rabbi cleared of charges

Rabbi Joseph Raksin shot Aug. 9, 2014

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Janine Stanwood - Anchor/Reporter

MIAMI - A teenager arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a rabbi in northeast Miami-Dade County was cleared of charges on Tuesday, the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office said in a close-out memorandum.

According to the document, prosecutors said there wasn't enough evidence to prove without a doubt that DeAndre Charles was guilty of the killing.

Charles' family said they always believed he was innocent.

"God tell me just go straight to the court every day, because they’re going to open the doors, and going to let everybody see that my son was innocent," said Charles' mother, Blair.

Charles was arrested in 2015 on charges of first-degree murder and armed robbery.

Initial evidence that was uncovered by authorities included Charles' partial DNA profile on firearm pieces recovered at the scene and cellphone records that placed one of Charles' phones at the cellphone tower closest to the scene.

However, prosecutors said that DNA was the main piece of evidence and a change in lab protocols forced analysts to conclude that Charles "cannot be included or excluded from the DNA mixture found on the firearm parts," the memo said.

According to prosecutors, officers were tipped off after the Aug. 9, 2014, shooting about two possible gunmen. A rough sketch was also drawn by a witness who lives in the area in which Rabbi Joseph Raksin was killed.

Charles' family attorney also said the gun used in the Raksin killing was used the day before, but by someone else.

"The victim in that case did give a description of the people involved," attorney Adam Goodman said. "That description doesn't match Mr. Charles."

Police said Raksin, 60, was targeted in an attempted robbery while walking to a synagogue.

Charles maintained that he was home sleeping at the time of the shooting.

The teen was a freshman at Miami Norland Senior High School when he was arrested.

Meanwhile, neighbors in the community where Raksin was killed said they hope justice is eventually served.

"Hopefully, with the people's help, because it's the people that stop crime, we can catch the perpetrators," neighbor Sruly Markowitz said.

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