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Prosecutors concede defendant's gun didn't fire fatal shot at Riverview graduation party

TAMPA — The family of Devante Dallas may never know who killed their 18-year-old son at a high school graduation party in Riverview two years ago.

But they have learned it was not the youth accused of firing at least three shots into the crowd that night who is this week standing trial on three counts of attempted murder.

The .32-caliber revolver that Khayri McCray, now 19, is accused of firing on May 23, 2010, was not the gun that killed Dallas. Prosecutors conceded Wednesday that ballistics tests prove Dallas was killed by some other .32-caliber gun.

Many guns were stashed in cars during the celebration for hundreds of graduating Durant High School seniors. Even chaperones came armed.

Was Dallas' killer the husky character in dreadlocks known as "Big Ron" Coleman who also was said to be firing a gun? Detectives found Coleman in Daytona Beach but said they could never find a witness to conclusively identify him.

Despite conceding that McCray did not fire the fatal shot, the prosecution stood by its three charges of attempted murder against him. The state offered another witness Wednesday who said McCray fired into the Winthrop Barn and Theater after suffering a bloody nose during a fight inside the hall.

The witness, Quantivs Thomas, was in a white Chevy Malibu that spirited McCray away from the shooting after McCray dove through the back window.

Thomas said he saw McCray pull the trigger eight times. Twice the gun failed to fire. Thomas said he heard six shots.

Other witnesses this week gave different versions. Some said they saw the man in dreadlocks do all the shooting.

After the state rested, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Debra Behnke denied a defense motion for a directed verdict of acquittal. The defense will present its case Thursday morning. The jury will then deliberate.

Members of Dallas' family have watched the trial all week, but have made no public statements.

John Barry can be reached at (813) 226-3383 or jbarry@sptimes.com.

Prosecutors concede defendant's gun didn't fire fatal shot at Riverview graduation party 03/07/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 11:56pm]
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