According to The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, prosecutors dropped the charges against Ashton Montalvo and Deangelo Laraye Boone because the investigation was led by the Antioch Police Department, which is also under investigation after many of its officers allegedly exchanged racist messages in a group text in 2020 and 2021.
“After thoroughly reviewing the officers’ role in this case, applying relevant legal principles, and considering ethical responsibilities, the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office no longer has confidence in the integrity of this prosecution,” the DA’s office said in a statement, according to NBC News.
Sharlman’s sister, Nicole Eason, said the department’s scandal shouldn’t have an impact on the case of her sibling.
“This scandal came out after my sister’s death,” she told NBC News. “It shouldn’t have had any bearing on the evidence.”
At least 45 officers are accused of being involved in the texting scandal, California City News reported. The officers allegedly used the N-word in their texts while speaking about Black people. They’re also accused of exchanging homophobic slurs and other disturbing messages. The District Attorney’s 14-page report also states that one of the officers allegedly said he “field goal kicked” a man in the head and “tried to knock him unconscious.” Additionally, the officers allegedly exchanged messages about shooting Antioch’s mayor, who is Black.
Eason said it’s unacceptable for prosecutors to drop the charges against the two men despite insurmountable evidence, which includes security video and eyewitness testimony.
“We’re getting ready to lawyer up,” she said. “We’re getting ready to fight.”
Sharlman’s family alleged surveillance video shows Boone and Montalvo taking the woman’s body to a dumpster on Oct. 17, 2022, and setting her on fire.
“Justice is not being served,” Sharlman’s mother, Sandra Sharlman, told CBS News. “They have way too much evidence. This happened before all [the texting scandal] came out and they come out all of a sudden like that. It’s a cop-out. The system is failing us. It’s failing us.”
Medical examiners also revealed additional details in the case, saying Mykaella died from a fentanyl overdose earlier in the day on Oct. 17. The family acknowledged that Sharlman had a drug addiction but that it doesn’t mean the two men should be able to walk free.
“Mykaella was so wonderful. Even though she had a bad thing when she got in those drugs, she was a good person,” Sandra said. “Loving and kind and trusting too much all the time.”
The district attorney’s office said it’s possible to refile the charges against the two men if new evidence is found.