Don Brooks may be a free man

Don Brooks was to serve 53 years in prison for a murder nearly a decade ago. But he could soon end up being a free man.

Members of the victim’s family, the Taylors, say they've devastated by the D.C. Court of Appeals ruling that may toss out the conviction because of a missing witness.

In September 2003, 39-year-old Brian Taylor, a Metro transit mechanic was shot and killed near Clay Terrace northeast where he grew up. Four months later, authorities arrested Brooks.

Brooks’ first trial in 2006 at D.C. Superior Court ended in a hung jury. In the second trial, a jury convicted Brooks and he was sentenced to serve 53 years behind bars.

But the D.C. Court of Appeal said that in the second trial, the sole eyewitness wasn't found - and the prosecution’s reading of her testimony from the earlier trial was not sufficient.

The family said that from the evidence at the trials, they're convinced authorities prosecuted the right man. So it's now up to the U.S. Attorney to try the case again after six years or drop it and let Brooks go free.