Child-kidnapping charges dropped in York City case

Liz Evans Scolforo

Charges have been dropped against a man and a woman who were previously accused of kidnapping the man's baby at gunpoint about a month ago.

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Justin Douglas Simpson and Charmaine Jerusha Campbell, both 26 and of Baltimore, had been charged with kidnapping to inflict injury, interfering with the custody of a child, child endangerment and reckless endangerment. Simpson was additionally charged with simple assault and making terroristic threats.

But prosecutors withdrew all charges against the pair at their Jan. 29 preliminary hearing.

And in fact, Simpson currently has custody of the child, senior deputy prosecutor Chuck Murphy said.

Simpson and Campbell were arrested in Maryland after York City Police filed charges against them for a Jan. 2 incident in which the mother of Simpson's son claimed Simpson showed up at her North Newberry Street home, pointed a handgun at her head and took their 1-year-old son when she refused to let him take the child, police said at the time.

Police were told Simpson and the baby got into a car driven by Campbell and took off, according to court documents, and the pair then drove to Baltimore, where they eventually were arrested.

No-show witnesses: Murphy indicated prosecutors knew there could be issues at the preliminary hearing because they were unable to make contact with the witnesses in the case, including the baby's mother. And there was another issue as well, he said.

"It became clear that what was said (by witnesses) on that day was not exactly what had occurred," he said. "Going into it, we knew there were inconsistent witness statements."

Then those witnesses failed to show up at the preliminary hearing, despite being subpoenaed to appear by the court, Murphy said.

"We had hoped to clear up (the inconsistencies) with the witnesses before the hearing," he said, but when they failed to show Murphy withdrew all charges.

"We realized there was clearly insufficient evidence" to move forward with the case, Murphy said.

Simpson and Campbell could not be reached for comment. It's unclear whether they retained defense counsel, but no attorneys appeared on their behalf at the hearing, a court official said.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at