DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James in Georgia said Monday he would drop charges against a former security guard accused of breaking into Bishop Eddie Long's office.
“We decided to cut our losses,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported James saying. He added that prosecution would be made more difficult by Long's reluctance to testify against the suspect Anthony Boyd. Also, “the defendant is not accused of using a weapon and doesn't have a bad criminal history.”
Boyd was accused of aiding in the June 2010 theft of Long's office inside New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta. Approximately $100,000 in jewelry and electronics was taken from the office.
This is Long's second attempt to get the charges dropped against Boyd. He tried convincing former DA Gwen Keyes-Fleming last August. Earlier this month, the bishop sent a letter to James, requesting he dismiss the charges.
WSB-TV reports that Long wrote: “While I understand that there may be evidence to support a prosecution, I believe in forgiveness and the opportunity for second chances.”
Boyd and a second suspect, Maurice Robinson, were arrested after the break-in. James said both suspects were offered to enter a pre-trial diversion program in exchange for a dismissal of charges. Robinson, who later filed a lawsuit against Long alleging sexual misconduct, took the deal, but Boyd did not.
“I had nothing to do with it,” Boyd told the AJC of the burglary. “This has been over a year of my life worrying about what was going to happen.”
Boyd's attorney, David Fife, said entering the program would have required Boyd to acknowledge there was sufficient evidence against him.
According to Fife, Long requested to have the charges dropped after learning he would be required to testify.
“The reason we wanted him to testify is to establish the motive, and clearly Anthony didn't have [a motive],” he told the AJC, referring to attorney B.J. Bernstein's declaration that her client, Robinson, took part in of the burglary as means of getting back at the megachurch pastor. Boyd was not involved in the lawsuit against Long.
“This is a blessed opportunity for Anthony Boyd,” Long said in a statement Monday. “As it is written in 2 Corinthians 5:17, 'anyone who belongs to Christ becomes a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.' We remain prayerful for he and his family and wish him well in his future life pursuits.”
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