Some of this year’s murder victims died as a target of a random shooting; others were beaten before they took their last breath. All of the 36 homicide cases this year tragic, but 12 of them remain without arrests.
“It may be the piece of information that we use to make or break the case,” said Detective Julius Nettles.
And this year homicide detectives are a little more overwhelmed than years past. The rate has spiked, with 12 investigations in the month of October alone. Trying to catch up, police are offering a $5,000 reward for information in each case..
“We do understand that people don’t normally want to get themselves involved in these types of investigations,” explained Nettles.
But to claim the reward, the information has to help lead to an arrest and conviction of potential suspects.
“People think they’re just going to provide some kind of information; a lot of times it’s information we already know.”
While offering reward money sounds like a desperate move, police say it’s not.
“90 percent of cases we’ve got a suspect identified we just don’t have the information to make a case against the subject.”
And contrary to the criticism that detectives should be clearing more cases, Nettles explains their work isn’t to solve cases.
“We don’t solve cases, we essentially respond to the scene, we gather the facts we gather the witness statements, the witness testimony, and we compile the facts of the case.”
That evidence then gets presented in court before a jury, should the case go to trial. But so many people contend, providing information could make themselves new targets.
“So we’re not going to drag them down to police headquarters and take whatever information that they have and send them on their way. Obviously, we’re going to sit down and talk about whatever issues they may have.”
Together about $60,000 is being offered to help in these cases. State Representative Napoleon Bracy is also fundraising for an additional $5,000 for information in the Delauna Powell case, a mother who was gunned down near a service road by Duval and I-10.
And police say they also have recovered surveillance video in her case. While they are trying to figure out if that video can be enhanced, they say two people were seen walking near the area of where Powell was shot around 3:30 am and 4:30 am. If you have any information, please pass it along to MPD.