Charges re-filed in 19-year-old’s murder after handling of suspected murder weapon derailed case

A murder suspect whose criminal charges were dropped in April is facing murder charges again.Delrico Peoples was charged with murder in the summer of 2019. Police believed he was driving a vehicle during a drive-by shooting in Mt. Airy that killed Brandon Phoenix.Phoenix was 19-years-old at the time, a North College Hill 2018 graduate and Children’s Hospital employee. Police described him as a bystander, sitting at a bus stop on Colerain Avenue when he was shot and killed by a stray bullet. Peoples was first arrested and arraigned on July 24, 2019. The trial started nearly three years later in April 2022. Two days in prosecutors dropped all charges. Prosecutors started jury selection under the impression police had never recovered the gun used in the crime. With the trial already underway, a Cincinnati police detective located the suspected murder weapon in police evidence. It had never been tested to see if the ballistics matched the weapon used to kill Phoenix.The charges were dropped without prejudice, meaning charges could be re-filed at a later date. Four months later, prosecutors made good on that plan, presenting the case to a grand jury which indicted Peoples on murder charges again on Sept. 7.Prosecutors hoped Peoples would remain incarcerated while police and the crime lab ran ballistics testing. Peoples was also being held on an unrelated felonious assault charge for allegedly punching a corrections officer several times in the face and breaking some of his bones in 2021.Instead, Peoples made bond the next day. A spokeswoman for the prosecuting attorney’s office told WLWT Thursday that ballistics evidence was completed prior to the indictment. The spokeswoman said prosecutors now feel confident proceeding to trial. The Cincinnati Police Department confirmed Peoples is now wanted on the new murder charges. The department did not offer a statement Thursday.Peoples’ attorney did not respond to WLWT Thursday.Tim Sies, a former North College Hill principal and teacher, said Phoenix’s death hit the school community hard.”NCH is very much a family atmosphere. So it rocked us,” he said. “Losing Brandon was like losing a family member.”Sies taught Phoenix in middle and high school, including for a music technology class. He said Phoenix loved hip hop and especially enjoyed the class.”Tried to bring him out of his shell with that because he was very quiet, but the beat-making part he really enjoyed,” Sies said.He added that Phoenix’s younger brother was in the high school when his brother was killed. “You watched him go through the stages of grief. Anger was a big part of it,” Sies said. “He’s resilient.”Sies is eager for the school staff, students and especially Phoenix’s family to finally get closure soon.”I know it’s never a speedy process, but this is extra,” he said. “There’s this dissonance that kind of feels like we need resolution to.”

A murder suspect whose criminal charges were dropped in April is facing murder charges again.

Delrico Peoples was charged with murder in the summer of 2019. Police believed he was driving a vehicle during a drive-by shooting in Mt. Airy that killed Brandon Phoenix.

Phoenix was 19-years-old at the time, a North College Hill 2018 graduate and Children’s Hospital employee. Police described him as a bystander, sitting at a bus stop on Colerain Avenue when he was shot and killed by a stray bullet.

Peoples was first arrested and arraigned on July 24, 2019.

The trial started nearly three years later in April 2022. Two days in prosecutors dropped all charges. Prosecutors started jury selection under the impression police had never recovered the gun used in the crime. With the trial already underway, a Cincinnati police detective located the suspected murder weapon in police evidence. It had never been tested to see if the ballistics matched the weapon used to kill Phoenix.

The charges were dropped without prejudice, meaning charges could be re-filed at a later date.

Four months later, prosecutors made good on that plan, presenting the case to a grand jury which indicted Peoples on murder charges again on Sept. 7.

Prosecutors hoped Peoples would remain incarcerated while police and the crime lab ran ballistics testing. Peoples was also being held on an unrelated felonious assault charge for allegedly punching a corrections officer several times in the face and breaking some of his bones in 2021.

Instead, Peoples made bond the next day.

A spokeswoman for the prosecuting attorney’s office told WLWT Thursday that ballistics evidence was completed prior to the indictment. The spokeswoman said prosecutors now feel confident proceeding to trial.

The Cincinnati Police Department confirmed Peoples is now wanted on the new murder charges. The department did not offer a statement Thursday.

Peoples’ attorney did not respond to WLWT Thursday.

Tim Sies, a former North College Hill principal and teacher, said Phoenix’s death hit the school community hard.

“NCH is very much a family atmosphere. So it rocked us,” he said. “Losing Brandon was like losing a family member.”

Sies taught Phoenix in middle and high school, including for a music technology class. He said Phoenix loved hip hop and especially enjoyed the class.

“Tried to bring him out of his shell with that because he was very quiet, but the beat-making part he really enjoyed,” Sies said.

He added that Phoenix’s younger brother was in the high school when his brother was killed.

“You watched him go through the stages of grief. Anger was a big part of it,” Sies said. “He’s resilient.”

Sies is eager for the school staff, students and especially Phoenix’s family to finally get closure soon.

“I know it’s never a speedy process, but this is extra,” he said. “There’s this dissonance that kind of feels like we need resolution to.”

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