Criminal Court Judge Don Poole has allowed Shermaine Latwon Menifee an own recognizance bond after prosecutors said DNA evidence had come back inconclusive in his murder case.
At a preliminary hearing, a witness was brought from the jail to testify that he saw Shermaine Latwon Menifee gun down Leslie Townsend while the victim was seated in a car in front of his home at 2302 E. 14th St.
However, defense attorney Kevin Loper said that witness has disappeared.
Attorney Loper said, "We have been anxiously awaiting our day in court. The state has no proof. He is an innocent man."
The DNA testing was on clothing that a witness said Menifee asked him to dispose for him after the shooting.
Menifee, 34, of 2512 S. Chamberlain Ave., is charged with the first-degree murder of Townsend last October. He has been held in jail since his arrest.
The 25-year-old victim was found sitting in the front seat of a gray four-door sedan. Police said he suffered "a number of gunshot wounds" including a fatal shot to the chest. He was pronounced dead after being transported to Erlanger Hospital.
Investigators were given the names of two people who may have been present when the victim was killed. Investigators located one of the witnesses and brought him to the Police Services Center for questioning.
He stated that Menifee had driven to the victim's house in a light-colored four-door sedan. He said Menifee exited his vehicle and approached Townsend, who was sitting inside his own vehicle.
The witness said he saw Menifee pull out a black handgun and open fire on the victim, who was still inside his car.
Police said Menifee has prior convictions for robbery and aggravated assault and is prohibited from carrying a weapon.
He is a validated member of the street gang 307 Crips, it was stated.