Murder charges dropped against dad in son's drive-by shooting death

The judge said "it defies common sense" that he'd be charged.
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Murder charges against a man whose son was killed in a drive-by shooting have been dropped.

Melvonte Peterson, 25, was driving his minivan with his two children inside on July 8 when a Chevy Impala pulled up and fired two shots at the van. His 2-year-old son Le'Vonte King Jason Jones was killed, and his 15-month-old daughter was injured.

Prosecutors allege Peterson shot back at the car, and charged him with several crimes including: murder, manslaughter, child neglect, drive-by shooting, and being a felon in possession of a gun.

But on Thursday, Judge Regina Chu threw out the murder, manslaughter and child neglect charges. In the order, she wrote "it defies common sense" to suggest Peterson is responsible for the death of his son.

"[Peterson's] decision to take his children in the van that fateful day merely accounted for their presence; that decision did not directly cause the children's harm," Chu added.

Peterson still faces the drive-by shooting and possession of a gun charges.

No other person has been charged in Le'Vonte's death, although officials told the Star Tribune last fall that they know who did it, they just don't have the evidence to prove it.

Chuck Laszewski, a spokesperson for the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, told GoMN they are "reviewing the judge's opinion and considering our options."

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