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April 24, 2012

Detroit teen facing new charges in fatal shooting

NEW CASTLE — A Detroit youth is facing new homicide-related charges in a fatal shooting on the West Side.

New Castle police refiled charges Monday against 16-year-old De’Andre McQueen after relocating a witness who is expected to testify against him.

McQueen is accused of killing 36-year-old Eric Staller, who was found dead on Locust Street near Grant Street the afternoon of Dec. 3.

He is charged as an adult with homicide, aggravated assault and other counts and is in the Lawrence County jail without bond, pending a preliminary hearing scheduled for Thursday.

The police had withdrawn those charges against McQueen earlier this month when a juvenile, who is a key prosecution witness, could not be found to testify at the preliminary hearing.

In the meantime, McQueen was in jail on other charges.

McQueen also is accused in a home invasion case and shooting on Sunny Avenue in Union Township in December. He allegedly was involved with Lamal Mock Sr., 23, in that incident and in a three-hour standoff with police on the city’s South Side Dec. 16, where police were serving a warrant on them.

He is charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault and simple assault, burglary, robbery, theft, simple assault killing or maiming a domestic animal, and conspiracy to commit robbery in connection with those incidents.

The same female witness, who is a juvenile, had been granted immunity as a witness in those cases.

After the homicide-related charges involving Staller’s death were withdrawn earlier this month, the police found the female witness hiding in a closet at her mother’s house. She is being detained in a juvenile facility.

She had been granted immunity from other alleged offenses in exchange for her testimony against McQueen, but when she could not be found for his preliminary hearing, the proceeding was canceled and authorities withdrew the immunity offer.

A new immunity petition is expected to be filed this week in order for her to testify against McQueen Thursday.

Witnesses told police that Staller had been walking with another man the morning of Dec. 3 when a car approached them from the direction of the Lincoln Terrace projects and someone got out and shot him.

An autopsy showed he had been shot with a .22-caliber gun, once in the side of the chest and three times in the neck.

The female witness, who reportedly is acquainted with McQueen, and a male witness both gave information to police that led them to believe McQueen was the one who had fired at Staller.

Originally from Johnstown, Staller had lived with his father and his two children in Missouri for the past 14 years. According to a family member, he was in New Castle visiting a female friend when the shooting occurred.

(Email: dmorris@ncnewsonline.com)

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