MAYS LANDING — A judge refused Thursday to lower the $1 million bail of a man recently arrested in a 2009 homicide.
Eight witnesses have identified Andrew Garland as the person who fatally shot Shaddiy Dixon on Aug. 3, 2009, Chief Assistant Prosecutor John Maher told Superior Court Judge Michael Donio.
Dixon, 20, had been out of prison less than 24 hours when he was shot during a block party Aug. 3, 2009, on the 1300 block of Adriatic Avenue.
But despite several of those witnesses making statements shortly after the killing, it took 42 months to charge Garland, now 24, defense attorney Darrin Lord said.
Maher said he did not have the case at that time, so could not say exactly why charges weren't filed then, but pointed out that a similar case in Atlantic City -- a fatal shooting at a crowded party -- had several witnesses recant their statements.
"There was a lot of intimidation in these case," he said.
Six months ago, acting Prosecutor Jim McClain along with others in the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office went over some older homicide cases, and decided that this should be one that could be closed, Maher said.
A few more witnesses were found, and -- on Jan. 9 -- Garland was charged. He turned himself in Jan. 25, two days after Lord said his client found out about the charges.
He used that as proof that the bail could be lowered to $500,000. Lord also said Garland has been responsible, helping care financially for all six of his children, including two with his current fiancee.
But, after pointing out Garland has two previous bench warrants for failing to appear, Donio said the current bail is fair.
Witness accounts indicate Dixon, Garland and another man were fighting during the party.
Dixon was mad at Garland because the then-21-year-old man had allegedly had sex with Dixon's 13-year-old sister, according to at least two witness accounts Maher shared in court.
Three other men were also shot that night. While some witness accounts indicate Garland was the sole shooter, he has not yet been charged in those crimes.
Maher said the surviving victims were not cooperative.
However, Lord said, ballistics still should show whether all everyone wounded that night was struck by the same gun. One witness account had Dixon brandishing two weapons.
A probable cause hearing has been requested by Lord to see how strong the state's case is. That will be scheduled by Superior Court Judge Kyran Connor, who has been assigned the case.
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