Killer avoids trial over 2008 murder

Convicted murderer Nathan Killeen will not stand trial for the 2008 murder of James Cronin after the State entered a nolle prosequi — a decision not to proceed — on the charge yesterday.

Killeen, aged 24, with a last address at Hyde Rd, Prospect, Limerick, had been charged with murdering 20-year-old James Cronin on a date unknown between April 5 and 7, 2008, at a place unknown within the State.

Mr Cronin’s body was found in a shallow grave near Ballinacura Weston in April 2008. He had been shot in the head.

Killeen had replied “it’s a stitch up” when charged with the murder, according to a detective garda on an earlier date.

The Special Criminal Court had fixed yesterday as the date to hear the trial.

However, Tom O’Connell, prosecuting, told the non-jury court that the State intended to enter a nolle prosequi — a decision not to proceed on the murder charge.

Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy, presiding alongside Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan and Judge Cormac Dunne, said the court would accept the State’s decision.

Ms Justice Murphy turned to Killeen and told him he was discharged.

The 24-year-old is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of Roy Collins, 35, at Coin Castle Amusements, Roxboro Road Shopping Centre, Limerick, on April 9, 2009. A life sentence was imposed on him and co-accused Wayne Dundon in July for the murder of Mr Collins.

The case against Killeen was last before the court in July when his lawyers had applied for an adjournment on grounds that he had just come through a long trial and also changed solicitor.

Killeen’s counsel, Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha, had said his client just come out of “a marathon murder case” and that there was no reality of him receiving a fair trial.

Opposing the adjournment application, Chief Superintendent David Sheehan had testified that the prosecution in the current case was relying heavily on the evidence of one person. That person was receiving garda protection since giving a statement more than two years ago, he said.

“The threat will continue to be live until at least the termination of this particular trial,” he had said in July, adding that prolonging trial would pose a particular risk.

Mr Justice Paul Butler had agreed with the State that an adjournment could affect the well-being and even the life of a witness, as he refused the application.

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