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Douglas County Prosecuting Attorney to dismiss charges against man accused of murder

Rontarus Washington hugging supporter
Posted at 5:41 PM, Dec 22, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Douglas County, Kansas, District Attorney has filed a motion to dismiss charges against a man who was accused of murder.

In 2015, Rontarus Washington Jr. was arrested on suspicion of killing his neighbor, Justina Altamirano Mosso.

Washington was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated burglary.

In Sept. 2019, he was tried by a jury for the charges but the trial ended with a hung jury.

Last summer, he was released from jail after five years after the community raised money to post 10% of his $500,000 bond.

Washington's retrial was scheduled to begin on July, 18, 2022.

However, Douglas County Prosecuting Attorney Suzanne Valdez said Wednesday she would cease prosecution in the case.

"Upon extensive review of this case, as well as a meticulous assessment of potential outcomes and adverse impacts of proceeding with the retrial, it is with a heavy heart that I have elected to cease prosecution in this matter at this time," Valdez said in a statement. "This is by no means an indictment of the many fine law enforcement officers, specifically of the Lawrence Police Department, who spent countless hours investigating this matter to exhaustion and who worked tirelessly to seek justice for Ms. Mosso."