Prosecutors Drop All Criminal Charges Against Suspected ‘Skid Row Stabber,’ Releasing Him After Nearly 40 Years

Rosie Harmon, a sister of Bobby Joe Maxwell, the accused "Skid Row Stabber" serial killer, is in tears as she calls their 84-year-old mother after a judge dismissed the charges against her brother, ending a 40-year legal odyssey on Aug. 10, 2018. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Rosie Harmon, a sister of Bobby Joe Maxwell, the accused "Skid Row Stabber" serial killer, is in tears as she calls their 84-year-old mother after a judge dismissed the charges against her brother, ending a 40-year legal odyssey on Aug. 10, 2018. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles prosecutors dropped all criminal charges against the alleged “Skid Row Stabber” on Friday, closing a 40-year legal saga complicated by a jailhouse scandal, overturned convictions and a defendant who may have only months to live.

Bobby Joe Maxwell, who has been comatose since November, was released from police custody for the first time since 1979 on Friday morning, when Asst. Dist. Atty. Robert Grace asked a judge to dismiss five murder charges against the accused serial killer.

“Forty years. Forty years,” his sister Rosie Harmon said outside the courtroom in between sobs. “Finally.”

The district attorney’s handling of Maxwell’s situation drew criticism from legal experts and civil rights advocates earlier this year, when it was revealed that prosecutors had yet to act on a request to dismiss the case despite his increasingly dire prognosis. Maxwell first fell into a coma after suffering a massive heart attack in late 2017, and nearly died while housed at L.A. County-USC Medical Center on July 4. Court records made public last month showed the chief physician of the jail ward believed Maxwell has less than six months to live.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.