DAILY LOCAL NEWS
VALLEY — A judge dismissed two firearm charges Thursday against a Coatesville man arrested soon after shots were fired in the city.
District Judge Grover E. Koon dismissed charges against Derick T. Johnson, 21, who was charged June 4 for having a gun and drugs in a vehicle after shots were fired in the 300 block of West Lincoln Highway.
Koon held charges of drug possession and driving under the influence for trial in Chester County Court.
Shortly after 2 a.m. police stopped Johnson in the 300 block of West Harmony Street because a vehicle he was driving fit the description of a fleeing vehicle, according to a criminal complaint.
But at a preliminary hearing Monday, defense attorney Christian J. Hoey argued prosecutors could not prove the sawed-off shotgun found in the rear of the vehicle belonged to or was used by his client.
Hoey said the charges should be dismissed due to a lack of forensic testing and because the vehicle is not registered in his client’s name.
Cpl. Larry Cooper, the arresting officer, testified he could not be certain the shotgun belonged to Johnson.
Cooper also testified no forensic tests were performed on Johnson to determine if he had fired a gun that night.
And Cooper said detectives had not gotten back to him about whether Johnson’s fingerprints were found on the gun.
“You can’t tell anyone with any certainty whose drugs or gun was in the car?” Hoey asked Cooper.
“That is correct,” Cooper said.
Hoey successfully asked the judge to dismiss two charges: possessing an instrument of crime and possession of a firearm with an altered serial number.
“You can’t just say, ‘Judge, you know what, take our word for it.’ That’s a faulty argument, your honor,” Hoey said. “It’s impossible to prove that it’s his (gun) to any certain degree.”
Assistant District Attorney Bo Grove stood by the charges.
“The defendant was operating the vehicle. There were drugs and a sawed-off shotgun in the vehicle,” Grove said.