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Murder charges dropped after gun goes missing before Brighton murder trial

The disarray in Brighton's evidence collection could be why charges were dropped this week in a 2015 murder case

September 12, 2018

BRIGHTON, AL (WBRC) - A murder case has been dropped in Brighton after a gun and shell casings come up missing. Court documents say Brighton Police lost the critical evidence. Brighton's chief is reorganizing because of it.

Sounds of progress are being made in the once cluttered evidence room in BPD. Chief Larry Woods say the room used to have evidence stacked from the floor to the ceiling with little to no organization.

"You couldn't even move in there. It's from years and years and years," Woods said.

The disarray in Brighton's evidence collection could be why charges were dropped this week in a 2015 murder case against Cadarrien McLemore. He's accused of shooting Kevin Hatter. Court documents claim Brighton Police lost the gun and shell casings that were allegedly used in the crime. Chief Woods says he wasn't aware the trial was taking place this week.

"We were not notified about the trial. None of the officers were subpoenaed to be at the trial. Nobody had requested the evidence. So we haven't even looked for the evidence," Woods said.

Woods is now renovating the evidence room building cubby holes to keep the evidence organized. Woods also plans to audit the evidence that is now behind lock and key in three jail cells until the new evidence room is compete.

The chief is also working to solve six murder cases - cases that are top priority for Brighton and the Jefferson County District Attorney's office. In the meantime, Woods is hoping his efforts to bring Brighton PD into the 21st century will pay off.

"I just decided I wanted to do something to help the citizens of Brighton and I took the job without pay. I just it as another way to show I'm really trying to help," Woods said.

Woods says he and others are going to search for the gun and casings in the coming days.

The department has also recently received upgrades with new patrol cars and radios courtesy of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

Woods is hoping to have the new evidence room finished by the weekend.

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