The mother of a man who was fatally shot had an emotional outburst in court Tuesday after Tevin Biles-Thomas, brother of Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, was acquitted of a 2018 triple homicide. Biles-Thomas, 26, was acquitted on all charges after Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Joan Synenberg said prosecutors did not have sufficient evidence to convict him.
Biles-Thomas was accused of fatally shooting three men during an altercation at a 2018 New Year’s Eve party in an Airbnb property. Delvante Johnson, 19; Toshaun Banks, 21; and Devaughn Gibson, 23, were killed in the alleged dispute.
Synenberg granted a motion Tuesday by Biles-Thomas’ attorneys to dismiss the case based on insufficient evidence, noting in her ruling that a witness’ description of clothing worn by the shooter was “75 percent accurate at best,” according to courtroom video published by WEWS. A mistrial had already been declared in May after jurors said they were inadvertently given legal briefs between prosecutors and Biles-Thomas’ legal team.
Following the ruling, a woman stood up and rushed toward Biles-Thomas, yelling, “You have to be f—— kidding me.” “I’m going to kill you,” she said. The Cuyahoga County court confirmed in a statement that “a person in the gallery charged toward the defendant” after the ruling and thanked the sheriff’s department for its assistance.
The woman was identified as Johnson’s mother by Joseph Patituce, one of Biles-Thomas’ defense attorneys. Patituce said Synenberg’s ruling paid “incredible attention” to the evidence presented and that the state failed to prove its case, but they understood the pain for the families who lost their loved ones. “We don’t fault the victim’s family. This was a horrible event,” Patituce said. “We don’t fault the victim’s family for acting out.”
Biles-Thomas also lost his cousin, Devaughn Gibson, in the shooting, Patituce noted.
“I mean, it can’t be forgotten that Tevin not only has suffered through 2 1/2 years of defending himself but he also lost a loved one, too,” the attorney said.
Biles-Thomas was facing 15 charges prior to his acquittal, including murder, voluntary manslaughter and felonious assault. An indictment against him said he “had a firearm on or about his person or under his control while committing the offense and displayed the firearm, brandished the firearm, indicated that he possessed the firearm, or used it to facilitate” crimes.
The case has made national headlines due to his relation to Simone Biles, a four-time Olympic gold medalist and world gymnastics champion. Biles, who earned her seventh U.S. title last week, is expected to compete in the Tokyo Olympics next month.
She spoke out in a brief statement following her brother’s arrest, saying her heart went out to the victims’ families and that she was struggling to process the news.
“There is nothing that I can say that will heal anyone’s pain, but I do want to express my sincere condolences to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy,” she wrote.