An Omaha gang member was released from jail Friday night after prosecutors dismissed murder and first-degree assault charges against him in the January 2017 death of Ashlyn Higgins.
Taliaferro Thompson, 22, no longer faces charges that could have resulted in a life sentence.
Higgins, 23, and her boyfriend, Parris Stamps, 28, had gone to 28th and Ruggles Streets to purchase marijuana in the early-morning hours of Jan. 26, 2017.
Stamps eventually told police that he had met a fellow gang member, nicknamed “Fifth,” to purchase the pot. He asked the man for a box to put the pot in. He then turned and briefly looked at the floorboards when he heard shots ring out.
Hit three times, Stamps tried to drive away. He told police that he looked and saw Fifth holding a gun. Stamps later identified Thompson as the shooter from a photo lineup, according to police. Stamps said he also knew the shooter as “Travis” — a name that Thompson is known to use, police said.
Higgins was shot in the arm, neck and chest and died at the hospital. Stamps also was shot three times and survived, despite being in extremely critical condition.
Prosecutors were concerned about the consistency of Stamps’ statements — and whether they had enough evidence to corroborate his statements.
The Douglas County Attorney’s Office has the ability to refile the case, should they develop more information.
After he was shot and his girlfriend was shot and killed, Stamps also gave an account of the May 2016 killing of Carlos Alonzo, 40, near 20th and Lake Streets. Another member of Stamps’ gang, Rolander Brown, was convicted of killing Alonzo and is currently serving the equivalent of 50 to 70 years in prison.
Brown, Thompson and Stamps all were members of the Sahler Block Crips, authorities say.
Kathy Higgins has told The World-Herald that her daughter was a teen math whiz whose life spiraled after she hung out with the wrong people.
Ashlyn bounced from school to school, Higgins said, then was pimped out in California by a controlling boyfriend. From 2016 into 2017, she said, Ashlyn was in an on-and-off relationship with Stamps, a man Kathy Higgins said she didn’t approve of.
“She cared about everybody,” Kathy Higgins said in an earlier interview. “I think that’s why she ended up being sucked up into this. She trusted people and she loved everybody.”