A murder prosecution that could not be filed until evidence surfaced as a result of the victim’s exhumation was dismissed yesterday when a state Superior Court panel ruled that the passage of 18 years from the fatal shooting to the arrest created prejudice to the accused.

The state’s frontline appeals court adopted the approach of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in holding that the Commonwealth, in investigating crime, may have been negligent in failing to probe the case in a reasonably diligent fashion.