‘Drug deal gone wrong’ murder case dismissed due to lack of evidence

Trevon Fox (Courtesy/Fox Family)
Trevon Fox (Courtesy/Fox Family)

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — The mother of a man murdered in March is shocked and disheartened now that the case against the man charged with killing her son has been dismissed.

An affidavit shows that Travis County deputies believe 20-year-old DeAndre Conner killed 26-year-old Trevon Fox on the evening of March 16. LaNitra Collins, Fox’s mother, kept refreshing the Travis County Court Docket website Monday as she and her family were planning to attend the next hearing in that case she said was scheduled for this week.

“I checked the court docket again and there was no information, so I called the district court or whatever and I was told it was dismissed on July 12,” Collins explained.

“It’s very frustrating, like my whole family is upset,” she said. “We don’t know anything, we don’t know why it had been dismissed and we didn’t know it had been dismissed almost a month ago.”

Collins called a number of public agencies to get information Monday. Someone from the Travis County District Attorney’s Office called her back explaining that their office didn’t have working phone numbers to contact Collins and her family with. The DA’s office told her that with the evidence and witnesses they had currently, the case would be “unwinnable.”

“I was looking forward to everything coming out in the trial so that I could have some kind of closure, maybe not even closure, just so that I would know what exactly happened that day, because I still don’t know,” Collins said.

According to court records, Fox and his friend planned to sell marijuana to Conner in the parking lot of the Churchill Crossing Apartments at 14100 Thermal Dr. When the three entered a car together to examine the marijuana Fox brought, DeAndre wasn’t satisfied with the quality of the drugs. According to the friend present in the car, Conner shot Fox, then fled the scene. Fox died of his injuries there.

Guillermo Gonzalez, director of the Trial Division of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, referred to this case as a “drug deal gone wrong.” But he said the drug deal wasn’t the reason the case was dropped. Rather, there wasn’t enough evidence to prove the charges.

“After investigating the case and talking to witnesses it’s been determined that there’s not been enough evidence to indict or prosecute the case so we are not prosecuting it as a homicide,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez also noted that his office was concerned when they learned Monday that Collins hadn’t been notified the case was dismissed. He said that the DA’s office has a policy of always contacting victims’ families.

It is not common in cases with victims involved to have a case dismissed, Gonzalez explained. “That’s not a decision that is made lightly. But we have certain ethical duties we have to uphold.”

Collins is left grieving and feeling disappointed with the justice system. “I honestly feel like [Fox] didn’t really matter as much to them as like another person’s life would have mattered,” Collins said. “The fact that when they found out who had shot [Fox], [Conner’s] bond was so low, he was able to bond right back out a couple of days later, he’s been out ever since and now the case was dismissed.”

“I feel like if [Fox] wasn’t a person of color — like I hate to bring color into it — but I feel like if he wasn’t, the bond [for Conner] would have been a lot higher and there would have been a lot more done about it, and those are my personal feelings,” Collins said.

Gonzalez sees this case differently.

“[LaNitra] is in a horrible position and I understand she is heartbroken. We don’t factor [race] in even in the slightest. Ethically, if the facts don’t permit us to prosecute, we don’t ” Gonzalez said.

He added that if someone comes forward with more evidence or videos of what happened, his office will take that information into account.

Collins said that she’s largely given up hope that this case will move forward. But she pleaded that if anyone has information that could help build a case, to come forward to authorities with it.

“Because I don’t feel like I’m ever gonna have any peace the way things are right now,” she said, fighting back tears.

Collins explained that her son left behind three children and many friends and family. He was working at the time he was killed but hoping to go back to school for his real estate license.

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