A 23-year-old man who was scheduled to stand trial Monday in the October 2014 shooting of a Baton Rouge boxer instead saw his charges dismissed.
State District Judge Lou Daniel refused to grant the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s Office a trial continuance, so prosecutors dropped charges of attempted manslaughter and felon in possession of a firearm against Christopher Stills.
Stills, 23, was accused of shooting Emanuel Augustus, also known as Emanuel Burton, in the head on Louisiana Avenue just north of Government Street, a few blocks from the gym where the boxer first trained while growing up in the city.
Police have said Augustus was an innocent bystander to an argument, allegedly between Stills and another man, when shots rang out.
The former professional boxer was walking past the argument when he was shot in the head. He was found on the roadway between North 17th and Brice streets, a pair of red boxing gloves lying nearby.
District Attorney Hillar Moore III said his office moved to continue the trial because a witness to the shooting died in June and because Augustus could not be located.
The charges can be refiled against Stills if additional evidence is found or witnesses come forward, the district attorney said.
Augustus said Monday from his fiancée’s apartment near LSU that he hadn’t been informed of Monday’s hearing and said he was upset the charges against Stills were being dismissed.
Augustus, who was shot in the back of the head, said he couldn’t remember details about the shooting or identify who shot him. Since the shooting, he’s dealt with a number of continuing health problems.
“I hear the gunshot going off over and over again in my head,” Augustus said. His fiancée, Dorothy Anthony, said Augustus, who was training to box again at the time of the 2014 shooting, has struggled with hearing and memory problems and that the injuries have kept him from the ring.
Stills’ attorney, Gail Ray, said she is doubtful that charges would be brought back against her client because of the lack of evidence tying him to the crime.
“I don’t think they’ll be able to. There was only one person who claimed to be a witness and that person is deceased,” Ray said Monday. “I’m sure if they had sufficient evidence, (the judge) would’ve given him a continuance.”
Stills remains on probation for two burglaries, Moore said. Those cases are assigned to state District Judge Chip Moore, no relation to Hillar Moore.
Born in Chicago but raised in Baton Rouge, Augustus — who midway through his career changed his last name from Burton to match that of his biological father — built a following as a journeyman fighter, taking on a range of opponents who included some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Micky Ward.