Charges dropped against man involved in 2021 drive-by shooting case

Published 2:08 pm Monday, August 28, 2023

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An Austin man will not be standing trial for a 2021 case involving a drive-by shooting after the charges against him were dismissed by the Mower County Attorney’s Office.

In paper’s filed last week in Mower County District Court, the County Attorney’s Office dropped the charges against Terry Izeal Heggs, 40, because a material witness in the case could not be located, thus denying Heggs a speedy trial.

Heggs was accused of felony drive-by shooting and felony violent felon in possession of a firearm after he was arrested on Aug. 20, 2021. In court documents, Ryan Christopher Collins, told Austin Police Department detectives that Heggs had been chasing him and shooting at him because Heggs thought Collins had stolen something from him.

Terry Izeal Heggs

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However, Collins, who had been sentenced to 51 months in prison on a charge of 1st degree burglary of an occupied dwelling, would not be located for Heggs’ trial, which was supposed to take place this week.

According to the dismissal documents, Collins was granted participation in the Challenge Incarceration Program (boot camp) for non-violent offenders and was subsequently released from prison on March 9 of this year after serving less than one year of his prison sentence.

Collins, who was on intensive supervised release by the Minnesota Department of Corrections, has absconded after less than three months of intensive supervision.

According to the Department of Corrections website, Collins is currently listed as a wanted fugitive.

For Heggs, this marks another case in which he has avoided conviction. Earlier in August, a judge dismissed two charges of which he was initially found guilty of in April — felony predatory offender failure to register and gross misdemeanor assault — after the judge found the evidence against Heggs was insufficient and guilt had not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Read more: Mower County Attorney seeks appeal after offender conviction overturned

Before that, in July, a judge acquitted Heggs of drug possession and sales charges. Again the ruling was insufficient evidence connecting Heggs to the drugs discovered.

Read more: Austin man charged with selling drugs from a business acquitted; more trials looming

Heggs still has three more cases on the horizon dating back to 2021, which involve felony drug offenses and failure to register as a predatory offender.

In those three cases, the Mower County Attorney’s Office has filed papers requesting all three cases be tried at once given that charges in those cases originate from the same facts. 

Heggs’ next court appearance in those cases is a motion hearing on Sept. 12. A trial including all three cases is scheduled for Oct. 9. He remains held without bail at the Mower County Jail.