VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A Virginia man accused of slaying his longtime friend is a free man because of a prosecutor’s mistake.

The Virginian-Pilot reports Leander Williams III now faces no charges. The 44-year-old Williams said he shot 43-year-old Antonio Bernard Cameron in self-defense in 2016.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle says he fired his chief deputy Scott Vachris last week for giving bad advice to a trial prosecutor, who asked him how to respond to the judge’s denial of his request for more time. Vachris told the prosecutor to have the charges dismissed, apparently thinking they could try him again.

But charges dropped once a trial has begun can’t be re-filed, so Williams is now a free man, protected by the double jeopardy law.

Stolle said “some mistakes are inexcusable.” Williams had no comment.

Information from: The Virginian-Pilot,

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