Tazewell County prosecutors Tuesday dismissed charges for a second time in a case involving a house shooting in East Peoria, but Tyler Davis of Pekin remains in prison.

Davis, 24, now faces a federal charge related to the same incident. If convicted, federal sentencing guidelines could produce a longer sentence than the nine-year term imposed with his guilty plea the first time he was prosecuted on state charges.

“It’s one of the most fascinating cases I’ve ever had,” veteran defense attorney Gary Morris said Wednesday.

That, Morris said, is in part because he believes the county State’s Attorney’s Office referred Davis’ case to federal court with concern that a judge might agree with him that the second round of state charges against Davis stemmed from “vindictive prosecution.”

“They knew they were going to lose” in that legal argument because case law, a series of judicial rulings defining the term, “was spot on” with how county prosecutors have handled Davis’ case, Morris said. Such a finding would have dismissed the state charges.

State’s Attorney Stewart Umholtz did not return a request for comment. He has stated he generally does not comment on pending cases.

Davis instead was charged in an indictment unsealed Tuesday with unlawful transportation of firearms as a felon. He remains in custody pending his trial set for June 4 in Peoria’s U.S. District Court.

Davis and Anton Grayson, 23, were arrested in July 2016 for allegedly firing gunshots into a house at 527 Chicago St. in “retaliation,” Davis claimed on his social media page, for shots they purportedly believed had been fired at them. The home’s residents, who had left the residence in concern for their safety, had told the two they were only exploding fireworks.

Davis pleaded guilty in December 2016 to aggravated discharge of a firearm and received the nine-year term. A lesser charge of possessing a firearm as a felon was dismissed.

Grayson chose a bench trial and last March was found guilty of possessing a firearm as a felon but innocent of aggravated discharge. He was sentenced to five years.  

Tazewell County Circuit Judge Stephen Kouri last August allowed Davis to withdraw his guilty plea. Rather than appealing that decision, Tazewell prosecutors filed a new case against him that included armed violence, a Class X felony carrying up to 30 years in prison.

Morris argued in a motion to dismiss that the new case amounted to vindictive prosecution unless prosecutors could show “a valid reason” for the more serious charge.

Before a ruling on that motion, the new case was dismissed, on the same day that the federal indictment against Davis was revealed.