CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4)- The district attorney overseeing the November 2009 murder of Andrew Graham has concluded “We cannot prosecute anyone for that crime,” according to a letter sent in January and obtained in the course of a CBS4 investigation.
The three page letter from the office of District Attorney Carol Chambers was sent to Andrew Graham’s mother, Cynthia Graham, Jan. 6, and indicates a grand jury investigation into the Graham murder has reached a dead end, despite “confessions” from several suspects in the case.
Graham was gunned down as he walked to his family’s home in Centennial from a nearby light rail station. The 23-year-old grad student was returning from a house hunting trip in Boulder. Sources have previously told CBS4 Graham is believed to have been the victim of a random, racially motivated robbery attempt.
The case has mostly been cloaked in secrecy since a grand jury was convened in 2011 to investigate the case. However the letter obtained by CBS4 lays out virtually the entire case.
A spokesperson for the Arapahoe County District Attorney refused to comment on the Graham case citing the ongoing grand jury investigation.
According to the letter, “The Sheriff’s Office had developed multiple suspects during its investigation. Over the past year, the grand jury has met for more than 20 sessions on this case and has heard from some 70 witnesses. Despite this, the admissible evidence against these suspects still consists of not much more than what existed before the grand jury investigation began.”
The letter continues, “You may have been told that some of the suspects “confessed” to having some involvement in your son’s murder. From this, it would be reasonable to conclude that those suspects surely can be charged. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
“At this point, the “confessions” in this case that were made to police officers in the case consist mainly of suspects pointing the finger at each other and disavowing their own involvement. Statements like this are of minimal value except to show that the suspect who made them may have been present at the scene.
“Some suspects themselves have also made admissions to law enforcement that are inconsistent with the objective facts of the case. Finally, even where suspects have made admissions, consistent with the facts or otherwise, they have also recanted those admissions immediately and repeatedly.”
Contacted by CBS4, Cyndi Graham acknowledged receiving the letter and said it left her frustrated and angry.
“It (the letter) didn’t make a great deal of sense. I would like to see the individuals who did this held accountable for their actions,” said Graham. “I don’t understand — they know who was there.”
CBS4 has learned that the three primary suspects investigators have focused on are Denver gang members Clarissa Lockhart, Allen Ford and Terrell Jones.
According to court documents, Lockhart told police Ford was present at the Graham shooting and Lockhart told investigators Jones shot and killed Graham. Sources familiar with the case tell CBS4 another minor also told investigators Jones admitted to being the shooter in the Graham case.
“I think public safety is a big issue because if they’re not held accountable they think they have the right to go do it again or continue this behavior,” said Graham. “Because if you murder once you’ll do it again. It’s just a matter of time.”
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson made it clear he disagrees with the DA’s position and the contents of the letter.
“I respect the DA’s responsibility, I don’t necessarily agree with it, I respect it,”said Robinson, who said his investigators have worked tirelessly on the Graham case.
“We have a confession, the confession has wobbled over a period of time but it’s still a confession. I believe the matter should be moved forward in the criminal justice system.”
Asked if he felt there was enough evidence to charge and put someone on trial for the murder of Andrew Graham, Robinson replied, “We would not have presented the case filing to the DA if we did not believe that.”
The letter notes that, “This investigation, however, is not closed. We will be asking the chief judge to extend the service of these grand jurors for up to six more months. We are so sorry for your loss and so sorry that, at this point, we cannot hold anyone accountable in connection with his death.”
The letter is signed by Assistant District Attorney Robert Chappell and Chief Deputy District Attorney Emily Warren. It is incorrectly dated ’6 January 2011′ when it was actually sent in January 2012.
At the conclusion of their investigation, the Graham grand jury can find that charges should be filed, can recommend no charges, or can opt to write a report.
Asked by a reporter if she felt her son’s murder would ever be solved Graham replied, “I think it already has. I think they already know who did it.”
Read the District Attorney Letter summarizing the grand jury investigation into the Andrew Graham murder.
- Written by Brian Maass for CBSDenver.com