Man released after four murder attempts after charges were dropped

Baltimore’s new top prosecutor Friday dropped all charges against a black man who was tried four times for the same murder, releasing him from prison in a controversial case that has repeatedly questioned the actions of police and prosecutors. ended the

Keith Davis Jr. was accused of shooting and killing Pimlico Racecourse security guard Kevin Jones in 2015. Police claimed his gun matched the casing at the shooting scene. Before arresting Davis, officers shot him multiple times, severely injuring him. He survived and has since pleaded not guilty.

Keith Davis Jr. is interviewed after being released from custody in Baltimore on Friday, Jan. 13, 2023 after prosecutors dropped all charges against him. Davis had been tried four times for the same murder and was awaiting a possible fifth trial when newly elected state attorney Ivan Bates dismissed the case. announced a decision to (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

Jerry Jackson/AP

newly elected Baltimore Attorney Ivan Batestook office on January 3, but announced on Friday that the charges had been dropped.

“Today’s dismissal concerns the prosecution’s error in seeking a conviction at all costs by my predecessor,” Bates said in a news release. We all have a duty to ensure justice, including people.”

Bates had promised in his campaign promises to reconsider a case that his predecessor, Marilyn Mosby, had repeatedly brought to trial. defeated.

When contacted on Friday, Mosby told the Associated Press that the case “was always about seeking justice for Kevin Jones and his family.” She declined to comment further.

Jones’ grandmother, Arlene Niels, said she was dazzled and heartbroken by the news.

“Our family is falling apart,” she told The Associated Press by phone. “Kevin has received no justice. Nothing.”

She accused Bates of using the case for political gain, saying she was skeptical police would identify another suspect now that Davis was free. .

Davis was the first person shot by Baltimore police after the incident. Death of Freddie Gray in 2015the case of a black man who was seriously injured in police custody sparked protests and civil unrest in Maryland’s largest city amid calls for police reform.

A combination of factors, including growing support from activists and Bates’ 2022 election, recently combined to allow Davis to regain his freedom after seven years in prison. As a defense attorney, Bates then defeated Mosby in the Democratic primary to secure his election in a democratic city in November.

Davis requested privacy on Friday and did not appear in public. He celebrated with his supporters, including his wife Kelly Davis.

“I hope people take notice. We’ve seen wrongful convictions in real time — and we didn’t look away,” she told the Associated Press. He survived because that wasn’t the end of his story, it was meant to be something bigger.”

She called the case a “system-wide indictment.”

“Keith is not an anomaly,” added Kelly Davis, noting that many other defendants with credible claims of innocence remain in prison. You can’t get back the years stolen from,” she said.

An attorney with the Maryland Public Defender’s Office, who represented Keith Davis throughout, said Friday’s decision will help restore confidence in Baltimore’s justice system.

Maryland public defender Natasha D’Artigue said Mosby’s handling of the case was “contrary to all notions of justice.”

Davis, 31, faced his fourth murder trial in 2019, and a jury found him guilty of second-degree murder. This result was later overturned by him on appeal in 2021. His two previous trials ended in doubt. A third trial resulted in a second-degree murder conviction, which was also overturned.

Davis was awaiting his fifth trial when he was released on Friday.

In 2021, after his latest conviction was overturned, prosecutors brought additional charges against Davis, accusing him of attempted murder that he stabbed while he was in prison almost a year earlier. When the charges were filed, a Baltimore judge found a “presumption of vindictiveness” behind the charges. The same judge also charged Mosby with contempt of court after finding that Mosby had intentionally violated the gag order by commenting on a high-profile incident on Instagram.

An attempted murder case was also dismissed on Friday.

Jones was shot on June 7, 2015 in a Pimlico truck in northeast Baltimore.

Hours after the shooting, Baltimore police officers were alerted by an unlicensed taxi driver in a nearby neighborhood, saying someone tried to rob him at gunpoint. and chased him down the street, cornering him in the mechanic’s garage. Police then shot Davis at least his 33 times and punched him three times, including his one in the face.

Authorities said Davis placed the gun on top of a refrigerator hidden behind the garage. However, Davis said the weapon was implanted in him after police opened fire.

Davis was originally tried for armed robbery in 2016. A jury found him innocent of all charges, except for his illegal possession of a handgun. About a week later, prosecutors charged him with murder in the Pimlico shooting, citing ballistics tests.

In his announcement on Friday, Bates did not go so far as to declare Davis innocent. A formal investigation has been requested.

“It is clear that the entire attempt to prosecute Mr. Davis is permeated by a blatant disregard for professional responsibility rules and the law,” Deputy Attorney Thomas Donnelly said in a statement.

Baltimore activist Daley McKesson, who celebrated with Kerry Davis and others on Friday, said he had hope after Bates won the primary, but “until it’s real, it’s not real. ”.

He said many of Davis’ supporters were thrilled to finally meet him in person.

“Today is a reminder that if you organize, you win,” he told the AP. “It wasn’t easy, but we did it.” Man released after four murder attempts after charges were dropped

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