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PORTSMOUTH (AP) -- Charges against a man accused of killing two people in Portsmouth in 1998 have been withdrawn.

Vernon J. Mills' trial was scheduled to begin Wednesday in Portsmouth Circuit Court.

Prosecutor Andrew Kolp tells The Virginian-Pilot that several witnesses who had given statements to a police detective later refused to cooperate. Kolp says some witnesses made statements that contradicted their earlier statements.

The charges could be refiled.

A grand jury indicted Mills in 2012 on first-degree murder, malicious wounding and weapons charges.

The charges stemmed from the fatal shootings of Christopher Midgett and James Alexander II and the wounding of a 17-year-old boy.

Mills is serving a 45-year sentence for a triple shooting in 2002 that left three men wounded.

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Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com

AP-WF-06-20-13 1218GMT

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