The misdemeanor cases against the first two defendants charged with toppling a Confederate monument in downtown Durham last summer were dismissed in court Monday and a third defendant was acquitted of charges.

Last August, in the wake of the demonstration in Charlottesville, Va., protesters in Durham dismantled a Confederate monument—which depicted a common soldier with a Confederate seal—that was located in front of the Old Durham County Courthouse, about a mile from East Campus. The eight people charged with destroying the statue appeared in court Monday, almost six months after the incident. 

Although the felony charges were dropped by Durham County District Attorney Roger Echols in January, the defendants still faced three misdemeanor charges each—injury to real property, defacing a public building or monument and conspiracy to deface a public building or monument. Dante Strobino and Peter Gilbert were the first of the eight defendants to go on trial.

“The state will give you a behind-the-scene look to destroy a monument here in Durham,” said Ameshia Cooper, Durham County assistant district attorney, in her opening arguments as reported by the Durham Herald Sun. “Your honor, you will learn that this was not a spontaneous event but a well-orchestrated plan.”

During the trial, Cooper introduced several witnesses, ranging from a Durham resident who recorded the incident to two sheriff’s deputies. However, Cooper was unable to present sufficient evidence that proved the defendants were guilty of the three misdemeanors. This led the presiding judge to dismiss the first two cases against Strobino and Gilbert. 

“The court must dismiss this case now and not let it go any further than it has because the identification has not been made in this case,” said District Court Judge Fred Battaglia Jr. “The court finds the state has failed to identify who the perpetrator was as to this defendant [Dante Strobino]; furthermore, the court has noted there is no evidence of a conspiracy.” 

Although the prosecution was able to prove that the statue had been destroyed, they were unable to prove by whom, Battaglia noted.

The third defendant, Raul Mauro Jimenez, was found not guilty of all three misdemeanor charges.