Memphis, TN (abc24.com) - It was a plan that almost worked. A man on trial for robbery called a witness and told her the judge had an emergency and not to come to court.
The incident illustrates the on-going challenge prosecutors and police have with witnesses.
"Nothing beats an eyewitness, somebody saying hey, I was there, I saw," said Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong.
Prosecutors said the woman witnessed a robbery near Lamar and Lapaloma back in late-August, 2011. According to prosecutors, about a week later, the suspect, Brian Terry, approached the woman in Midtown Memphis and threatened her, telling her not to testify.
The lack of a witness also played a role in the preliminary hearing of a private school guidance counselor this week. Statutory rape charges against Cinnamon Davis were dropped after the 17-year-old alleged victim didn't show up for that hearing.
"Do we have situations where witnesses don't show up, and they tell us they are going to be here and they don't? Yes," said Amy Weirich, Shelby County District Attorney General. "Do we always know that is a result of someone getting to that witness? No."
Prosecutors were able to reach the witness, and Brian Terry's trial will proceed. Meanwhile, he's facing a new charge: coercion of a witness.