Two Washington men, whose trials on first-degree murder charges had twice ended in mistrials, were acquitted of the charges Monday by a D.C. Superior Court jury.
John Andrews of 1813 15th St. NW and Theodore Ford, who lives in Southeast, were charged in the July 26, 1977, slaying of John Colbert, who was shot to death in the 1400 block of Swann Street NW.
The government contended in the case the Colbert used drugs and sold heroin on the streets for Andrews and Ford.The two men shot Colbert after he did not turn over to them money he received from drug sales, the government contended.
Andrews and Ford, who had spent the last two years in jail before their release after trial Monday night by Judge Sylvia Bacon, came to trial in the case in November 1978 and again in March of this year.
Each time the jury deadlocked, with 11 jurors voting guilty and one juror voting for acquittal. On both occasions, Judge John F. Doyle declared a mistrial.
The government's case, presented by Assistant U.S. Attorney James Hanny, asserted that at about 8:15 p.m. on the day of the shooting the three men met at 1414 Swann St. NW. An argument ensued.
Ford pulled a gun and shot Gilbert, who seconds later was shot again by Andrews, government witnesses told the jury.
But Ford's attorney, Leroy Nesbitt, and Public Defender Service attorneys Robert Mosteller and Maurine Auerback, who represented Andrews, argued that their clients did not participate in the shooting.
Defense witnesses testified that at the time of the shooting Ford and Andrews were at the home of Delores Andrews, Andrews' sister-in-law, watching video tapes of Muhammed Ali prize fights.
During the first two trials, the government produced two witnesses, who testified that Ford and Andrews killed Colbert. In the third trial, a third witness, Gregory Irving, also testified that he saw the two men do the shooting.
Defense attorneys put two other witnesses -- Pamela Elliot and Emily M. Allen -- on the stand in the third trial. They testified that Colbert was shot by Nathanial Moore.