Two Weldon men taken into custody involving a double murder that happened last year were released on lack of evidence.

On Wednesday, a dismissal form was filed from the District Attorneys Office signed by Assistant DA Keith Werner to dismiss the charges on 39-year-old Jason Keith Alston and 29-year-old Omar Daquan Ponton, who were taken into custody recently for the April 6 shooting in Weldon that left two dead and a third injured.

The dismissal form for Alston read there was insufficient evidence to warrant prosecution since after charges were filed, additional evidence showed the defendant was not in North Carolina at the time of the crime.

Ponton’s form read there was no evidence that existed to show the defendant committed the crime nor participated in it.

Alston’s sister, J’Mia Wade, said on Friday she knew her brother was in Ohio at working on a construction job at the time of the crime on the 400 block of Chestnut Street that claimed the life of two men. Wade said she was texting Alston when it happened and knew he was nowhere near the scene. She said Alston and Ponton are cousins and the two families are connected. Knowing that her brother was in Ohio, Wade said she and her side of the family presented the DA’s office phone records and a Super 8 hotel registration in Twinsburg, Ohio, showing Alston had checked in from April 5-8.

According to the dismissal form for Alston, there was another interview conducted for the victim who survived, which showed conflicting stories from the previous interview held with the individual. It continued and read that further investigation of the crime needed to be conducted by law enforcement.

Neither Werner nor Weldon Police Chief Christopher Davis could comment on the case as it is still an ongoing investigation.

When asked what specific evidence was there currently at the time that convinced law enforcement to charge Alston, Wade said law enforcement came with a warrant based on witness statements who were at the scene of the crime. She said when they entered the home, they searched for the weapon that was used in the crime. Wade said Alston’s girlfriend was the cousin of one of the individuals who was killed in the shooting and felt somebody was targeting their family, which prompted her to buy a 9-millimeter handgun on April 27.

“They found that, and they thought originally that was the weapon because a 9-millimeter gun was used,” she said. “And so, but then they found out that it was not the weapon that was used. So it was just based off of witness statements.”

When asked if her brother was alright in custody at Halifax County jail, Wade said he contracted COVID-19 from someone in the same cell.

“And so when he had caught COVID from a person that was put in the cell with him, in the end, he injured his hand while he was in there with the door slamming on his hand,” she said. “So, we were trying to really push, you know, to get him out of there knowing that he was innocent.”

Wade said Alston was happy when he was released and holding back tears.

Davis said in a statement to The Herald, “The Weldon Police Department wishes to extend its sincere apologies to Mr. Alston and Mr. Ponton and their families and that their arrests at the time were based on the best information that we had. We assure the families of the victims that we will continue to diligently investigate this case.”

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