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Case dropped against killer accused of gun murder

Convicted murderer Nathan Killeen will not stand trial for the 2008 killing of James Cronin, after the State entered a nolle prosequi - a decision not to proceed - on the charge.

Killeen (24) with a last address at Hyde Road, Prospect, Co Limerick had been charged with murdering 20-year-old James Cronin on a date unknown between April 5 and April 7, 2008 at a place unknown within the State.

Mr Cronin's body was found later that month in a shallow grave near Ballinacura Weston in Limerick. He had been shot in the head.

Killeen had replied "it's a stitch up" when charged with the murder, according to a detective garda on an earlier date.

The trial was due to begin at the Special Criminal Court yesterday.

However, prosecuting counsel Tom O'Connell told the non-jury court yesterday that the State did not intend to proceed on the murder charge.

There was a look of surprise on Killeen's face when the decision was entered.

Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy, presiding alongside Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan and Judge Cormac Dunne, accepted the State's decision, and Killeen was told he was discharged.

The 24-year-old is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of Roy Collins (35) at Coin Castle Amusements, Roxboro Road Shopping Centre, Limerick on April 9, 2009.

A life sentence was imposed on him and his co-accused Wayne Dundon in July this year for the murder of Mr Collins.

The case against Killeen was last before the court in July when his lawyers had applied for an adjournment on grounds that he had just come through a long trial and had also changed his solicitor.

Opposing the adjournment application, Chief Superintendent David Sheehan had testified that the prosecution in the current case was relying heavily on the evidence of one person.

That person was receiving garda protection since giving a statement more than two years ago, he said.

Presiding judge for the July application, Mr Justice Paul Butler, had agreed with the State that an adjournment could affect the wellbeing and even the life of a witness. He said the court had no difficulty in refusing the application for an adjournment.