COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — Charges against a woman accused of obstruction of justice and mob action were dropped in the Endia Martin murder case Friday after a cellphone video of the incident was played in court.
The woman, Vandetta Redwood — an aunt of the teenager charged with the April killing of Endia, 14, during a fight over a boy — did nothing to stop the shooting, prosecutors had said.
But in court Friday, Cook County Judge Donald Panarese Jr., after watching the video, dismissed charges against Redwood, saying prosecutors had failed to make their case.
Redwood's obstruction of justice charge came after police said Redwood lied about being at the scene of the April 28 shooting.
After viewing the video, the judge dismissed charges against Redwood because, he said, "I feel the video is very poor."
"Many, many people are back and forth, in and out [of the frame]," Panarese said in deciding that prosecutors lacked probable cause, or the grounds to bring the charges.
The dizzying cellphone video was taken by a witness as she ran with a group of people going to confront 14-year-old Endia outside her New City home before the April 28 shooting. Sky and pavement are seen intermittently as are people darting in and out of the video frame.
Endia can be seen in the video coming out of the house to face the group of people, including Redwood's niece, also 14, who is charged with fatally shooting Endia.
The video is soundless, but it is clear that the girls are arguing. Endia, posturing in an aggressive manor, is retrained by a woman in a white sweatshirt. A dark object is visible in the hand of the girl Endia appears to be fighting with and two other girls can be seen with potential weapons, one carrying a bottle and the other armed with a pipe.
Moments later Endia turns and runs up the stairs to the front porch of the home in the 900 block of West Garfield Blvd. It was then, prosecutors say, that Redwood's niece pulled the trigger, shooting Endia as she fled.
A Chicago police detective testified Friday that before the murder — as Redwood, her niece and others rode a bus to Endia's home — Redwood told them "You guys better kick their ass." The detective also said Redwood's niece handed Redwood a handgun after the shooting.
Redwood's attorney said his client never should have been charged.
"I think there was a lot of pressure to make arrests in this case," Mark Almanza said after the ruling. "My client got caught up in the State's Attorney's efforts to come down hard on gun crimes."
In addition to accusing Redwood's niece with the murder, police have charged an uncle with supplying the gun, a 17-year-old who helped the shooter hide the murder weapon, the alleged killer's aunt, who was charged with mob action and obstruction of justice for lying to cops, according to authorities.