By Maggie Vespa. CREATED Jun 14, 2013
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A Wildcat football star is out of the legal woods for now.
The Tucson city attorney's office says there's just not enough evidence to convict running back Ka'Deem Carey, so they are dropping the charges against him.
The biggest hang-up here: prosecutors say a key witness, possibly Carey's ex-girlfriend, is simply unavailable.
Legal experts say when that happens, a domestic violence case can crumble like a house of cards.
It was the case heard round wildcat world.
"Yeah, I've heard about it," said one U of A student.
"It's been around campus, just kids talking about it," said another.
All-American running back Ka'deem Carey, charged in December with abusing his then-pregnant girlfriend, pushing her, slamming her fingers in a door.
Carey, under a white-hot spotligh, pleaded not guilty.
Now, after learning of this latest twist, some fans seem willing to forgive.
"If the charges were dropped and there wasn't enough evidence then he's off," said one man.
Others say it will be hard to forget.
"People get away with a lot of things, and if you're a little more famous than others it happens more often," said another.
Sports anaylsts say now, it's on Carey to repair the damage.
"I think there's going to be a higher standard that he's held to, even though, like I said, that first touchdown, he's going to be right back on everyone's shoulders," said Jody Oehler of ESPN Tucson.
And it's a second chance, that legal experts say, comes from that key witness being unavailable. It's a fatal twist in cases like this.
"They need to have a witness available at trial who could say what happened," said attorney Louis Fidel.
And if that person goes MIA?
"If that's the only witness, it's very damaging to a case," he said. "People need to be aware that when they file charges like this or make allegations like this it's obviously very serious."
A point that's especially true when the whole U of A world is watching.
Fidell tells 9OYS Carey is not totally in the clear just yet.
If more evidence arises, the city attorney's office could refile charges within six months.