Jury returns guilty verdict in 4th trial of shooting suspect
BALTIMORE (AP) — A jury on Friday found a man guilty in the shooting death of a Baltimore security guard, ending his fourth trial in the case despite claims by him and his attorneys that he didn’t do it.
Jurors found 27-year-old Keith Davis Jr. guilty of second-degree murder for shooting Pimlico security guard Kevin Jones as he walked to work in June 2015, The Baltimore Sun reported. Sentencing was scheduled for November.
Two previous trials ended in mistrials. A third trial led to a conviction that was overturned.
Davis was charged with using a firearm in a violent crime and second-degree murder, which doesn’t require premeditation. Prosecutors had offered him a plea deal of 30 years in prison with 20 additional years if he breaks terms of his release. Davis turned down the offer.
Prosecutors say Jones was trailed by a masked gunman, and surveillance video showed a suspect stalking Jones. The gunman shot Jones 11 times. Detectives found neither video footage nor witnesses, but brass shell casings were scattered around the body,
Four hours later, police were writing a report on a car crash. One officer testified that he was flagged down by a driver and told Davis had a gun. Police chased Davis down the street and through alleys, cornering him in a mechanic’s garage. Police fired at least 33 rounds at him, and one bullet struck him in the cheek. He placed the gun on top of the refrigerator he was hiding behind, the officer testified.
Police lab technicians testified that they found Davis’ fingerprints on the gun, and firearms analysts said tests showed it matched shell casings around Jones’ body. Detectives studied surveillance camera footage and said the shooter’s distressed designer jeans and black and white sneakers exactly matched clothes Davis wore hours later. In addition, they said a cellphone tower near the racetrack detected Davis’ phone in the early hours of the murder.
Davis has maintained his innocence, and said the murder weapon was planted on him after he was shot by police just hours following Jones’ slaying. Defense attorneys argued that Baltimore police officers planted a gun on Davis after mistakenly thinking he was armed and chased him before they shot him. Police shot Davis when he was arrested, and a civilian review board found police used excessive force.
“We’re not giving up and we don’t think justice was done today,” said Deborah Levi, Davis’ attorney. Chants of “Free Keith Davis” were heard outside the courtroom following the verdict.
Davis’ wife, Kelly Davis, emerged as a vocal critic of Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, demanding the top prosecutor to finally give up on the case. Kelly Davis and her supporters have confronted Mosby in public.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby issued a statement after the verdict saying she hoped Jones’ family “can finally close this gruesome chapter of grief and find their path to healing.”
Mosby’s political rivals criticized her in the runup to last year’s primary election for continuing to prosecute him.
Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com