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DA dismisses murder charges in Gainesville homeless camp slaying
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Dexter Pulliam enters the Magistrate Court courtroom Monday, Nov. 22, to appear for a committal hearing. Pulliam was charged with murder in the death of Leon Hines. - photo by Nick Watson

The district attorney’s office dismissed the charges against a Gainesville homeless man accused of killing another man in a homeless camp 10 months ago, according to court documents.

Dexter Pulliam was indicted on charges of malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault in the Oct. 18 death of Leon Hines, 66. 

Police said they believed Pulliam struck Hines on his head with a sharp object, but the prosecution filed paperwork Tuesday, Aug. 23, to dismiss the charges because they feel they cannot prove their case.

Since the case was indicted in December, two of the witnesses deemed essential by the prosecution have died, including Billie Lee Davis, 37.

Dexter Barnard Pulliam

Davis died May 13 after being shot multiple times, according to authorities. Another homeless man, Pedro Morales-Valle, 42, was charged with murder in Davis’ death.

Pulliam’s defense attorney Jake Shapiro had previously filed a motion to include Davis’ statements to law enforcement about Pulliam’s case, including that he believed someone else was responsible for Hines’ death.

In the paperwork dismissing the charges, a third witness believed to have seen Hines’ death “has not been forthcoming.”

“While others are likely to know more about the circumstances of Mr. Hines’ death than they are telling, the state cannot rely on speculation and hearsay,” the prosecution wrote.

Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Lee Darragh declined to comment beyond what was written in the dismissal paperwork.

The prosecution wrote that police and the district attorney’s office have tried to “uncover any and all possible remaining evidence in the case which could exclude all reasonable hypotheses” other than Pulliam being the one responsible.

“This is a circumstantial case and the state must prove not only its case, but must exclude (every) other reasonable hypotheses other than the guilt of the accused,” the prosecution wrote. “Here, the state has grave concerns of being able to exclude these hypotheses.”

The prosecution wrote that they still believe Pulliam is responsible for Hines’ death.

Shapiro said Pulliam maintains his innocence in the case, and the defense felt that the case was not thoroughly investigated.

“An innocent person was confined in jail for 10 months just based off of what was pretty much speculation and no investigation at all,” Shapiro said.

Shapiro said he believed Pulliam would be released either Tuesday, Aug. 23, or Wednesday, Aug. 24.