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Murder charges against Gibson City man dismissed

Murder charges against Gibson City man dismissed

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PAXTON — Murder charges against a Gibson City man who had been accused of killing his wife were dismissed today, but there is a possibility they will be re-filed when more evidence is processed.

Robert T. Osborne, 28, had been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Danyelle M. Osborne, 26, whose body was found Oct. 31 under a bridge southeast of Gibson City.

Ford County Judge Steve Pacey dismissed the charges today at the request of Ford County State’s Attorney Tony Lee.

The dismissal came after the prosecution tried to gain more time to process evidence. Osborne had to go to trial by Feb. 27 because the defense never waived the right to a trial within 120 days of being charged.

"I’m not going to be the one to release this defendant on his own recognizance because of an oversight that has far-reaching consequences," Pacey said.

The charges can be re-filed, but Lee declined to comment on his plans.

Osborne, who had been in custody since Nov. 1 in lieu of posting $50,000, was released from jail after the hearing.

The prosecution at first asked Pacey to release Osborne on his own recognizance, which would have stopped the clock for the trial. Pacey denied that motion.

Pacey said asking a judge to grant such a motion in such a case is "unprecedented and I decline to do so."

He said he was being asked to release a defendant accused of a murder that the prosecution sought to prove was "especially heinous." Osborne could have faced life in prison.

Pacey also said he had no reason to believe in the defendant’s "personal promise to reappear, particularly if DNA evidence returns to be that of the deceased."

The judge was referring to pending testing on a pair of tennis shoes Osborne was wearing when he was arrested, defense attorney Harvey Welch said. The tennis shoes previously were not sent for testing with other evidence, and only went to the lab on Feb. 14.

Lee then asked the court to dismiss the charges against Osborne without prejudice. Pacey granted the motion.

"Without prejudice" leaves open the possibility that the charges can be re-filed.

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