KINGMAN – The State of Arizona has dropped first-degree murder, felony manslaughter, and Class 3 felony aggravated assault charges against David Allen James for the alleged beating death of 23-year-old Matthew Scott Porter in May 2016.
The first-degree murder charge, a Class 1 felony, was dropped in July 2017. According to court documents, there was no evidence that James killed the victim intentionally or knowingly.
The Kingman Police Department at first thought Porter died of a drug overdose, but blunt force trauma to the head resulted in the Mohave County Medical Examiner suggesting homicide was the true cause of death.
The alleged assault occurred following a physical confrontation between two women at Porter’s residence on Windsor Avenue. James was arrested May 24, five days after the death of Porter when KPD pulled over a vehicle in which James was a passenger. James denied the charges.
The court also dismissed manslaughter, a Class 2 felony, and aggravated assault, a Class 3 felony, charges May 17.
Charges were dropped after Dr. Rexene Worrell, medical examiner, said in an interview that Porter’s fatal head wound could not have been caused by a bare fist, as was theorized in the initial charge against James.
“The defense medical expert agrees that the fatal injury could not be caused by a bare fist,” according to court documents. “The State cannot prove that defendant caused the death of the victim. As such, the counts of manslaughter and aggravated assault (serious physical injury) must be dismissed.”
However, the state will still prosecute James for charges of assisting a criminal syndicate – street gang, a Class 3 felony, and two counts of aggravated assault, both Class 6 felonies.