Murder charge against USS George Washington sailor dropped
August 23, 2008
ARLINGTON, Va. — A sailor from the USS George Washington is no longer facing charges in connection with an Aug. 16 shooting near San Diego.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Cloris Cannon has been released from jail and charges against him have been dropped, said Navy spokeswoman Lt. Karen Eifert.
"Police now consider him to be a witness, not a suspect," Eifert said on Friday.
Another sailor, Petty Officer 2nd Class Harvey Jordan, remains in custody and has been charged with murder, she said.
"We are fully cooperating with local authorities on this investigation and suspects are innocent until proven guilty," Eifert said.
Investigators believe that Jordan, from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 41, shot the two men, killing one of them, a homicide detective with the local sheriff’s department said Tuesday.
Jordan faces charges of murder and assault with a semi-automatic firearm, meaning he faces a maximum penalty of 25 years to life in prison if convicted, said Steven Walker, a spokesman for the local district attorney’s office.
Walker confirmed that prosecutors decided not to pursue charges against Cannon, but he could not say whether Cannon is considered a witness or a suspect.
Once defendants have been arraigned, prosecutors are limited on what they can say on the case, Walker explained.
"We do that so that a defendant can get a fair trial," he said.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that Cannon was no longer in custody.
The two sailors were arrested Tuesday and booked on charges of murder and assault with a deadly weapon following
After a report that shots had been fired, sheriff’s deputies found two gunshot victims: Aaron Wilkerson, 36, who suffered a non-life-threatening wound; and Dennis Eugene Trollinger, 31, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
They had reportedly been arguing with two suspects, who drove away from the scene in a red Ford Mustang GT with a military sticker. Investigators gave local military bases a description of the car, leading to the two sailors’ arrests.