• Getting away with murder: Why nearly half of all Orange County homicides this year are unsolved

    By: Daralene Jones

    Updated:

    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Norma Jean Brewer was a grandmother and a friend who was shot to death in her own neighborhood this past summer, and still no one has been arrested for her murder.

    Channel 9 found that 40 percent of those who have killed someone in Orange County in the last five years have gotten away with murder.

    Those 97 unsolved cases include victims like Brewer, Alphonzo Johnson and Travis Glenn -- none of whom were committing a crime at the time of their deaths.

    "We don't want people sitting in their living rooms getting hit by a stray bullet," said Sgt. Joe Covelli, of the Orange County Sheriff's Office. "We have people who say, 'Here's what happened, but I'm not going to cooperate with you,' and that's very frustrating."

    Channel 9 reviewed attempted murder and murder cases sent to Orange County prosecutors in the last three years and found that about 60 cases were dropped because of problems with a key witness or tampering with a witness before a trial.

    In one case, a witness told attorneys, "I'm nervous. People get killed for this stuff. I have ten kids."

    "We can put investigative subpoenas, but they can say, 'I didn't see anything,'" Covelli said. "It's frustrating on our end because we have cases that are solvable."

    Officials said that in the case of Johnson, who was killed during an argument while playing a pickup game of basketball, an eyewitness said he would testify in the case if Markeith Loyd was released from jail.

     

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