Latin America & Caribbean

Baseball star Alfredo Simon cleared of fatal shooting

Alfredo Simon pitching for the Baltimore Orioles in May 2010
Image caption Alfredo Simon always denied the charges

Dominican Republic baseball star Alfredo Simon has been cleared of charges over a fatal shooting in the country on 1 January.

Simon, pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, was accused of shooting dead one man and injuring another during New Year celebrations.

Defence lawyers said the prosecution had failed to prove he fired the shots.

The baseball player was held for two months earlier this year as the main suspect before being released on bail.

Simon was accused of shooting dead Michael Castillo, 25, and injuring his cousin, 17-year-old Starlin Castillo during celebratory gun fire in the town of Luperon in the north-east of the country.

But his lawyer, Dinora Dilone, told the Associated Press that prosecution witnesses said they did not see Simon fire a shot.

Tests also showed that the bullet taken from the dead man's body did not match Simon's gun, the lawyer said.

Prosecutors have the possibility of appealing against the ruling.

Simon was held in the Dominican Republic until the end of March and did not resume playing for the Orioles until late May.

The Dominican Republic supplies more players to US Major League baseball than any other country outside the US.

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