Keith Davis Jr. granted a third trial in killing of Pimlico security guard

Tuesday, 05 December 2017, 02:07:39 AM. Judge grants new trial for Keith Davis Jr., controversial police shooting victim who was convicted of murder

A Baltimore judge granted Keith Davis Jr. a new trial after fresh questions emerged about the prison witness whose testimony helped convict him in the killing of Pimlico Race Course security guard, his attorney said.

Judge Lynn Stewart-Mays granted the motion for a new trial during what was to be a sentencing hearing for Davis, who was convicted by a jury in October of second-degree murder in the death of Kevin Jones.

But Davis’ attorney Latoya Francis-Williams argued he should get a new trial due to questions that have arisen since the trial over the reliability of the prison witness who played a key role in what was Davis’ second trial. On Friday, a former cell mate of the prison witness took the witness stand and disputed much of his account.

Francis-Williams said she was “grateful” for the ruling and said she hoped the state would “take the time to look at what’s really going on in this case.”

The State’s Attorney’s Office did not immediately have a reaction to the ruling. Previously, prosecutors said they followed court rules, and that the conviction should stand given the totality of the evidence against Davis.

City activists have taken up Davis’ cause and held a rally outside a fundraiser for State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby on Thursday night.

Just hours after Jones was fatally shot in June 2015, Davis was shot by police. Nearly a year later, police said the gun recovered from scene where Davis was shot was matched to the gun used to kill Jones.

Davis, 26, of Columbia, has asserted that he was the victim of mistaken identity when he was pursued and shot by police, and that the gun was planted on him to justify the police shooting.

There are no eyewitnesses to Jones’ killing, and no known connection between the Davis and Jones.

At his first trial, prosecutors argued that his possession of the murder weapon and phone records showing him in the area of the killing when it happened pointed to his guilt. It ended with a mistrial.

Just weeks before the second trial, a new witness came forward who was a Texas man serving a 15-year sentence for being a gang member and who was being held in the same prison as Davis. David Gutierrez wrote a letter to authorities, claiming the defendant had bragged about the murder to him during a visit to his jail cell to buy alcohol from his cell mate.

Baltimore homicides map

Davis’ attorney said Gutierrez was disclosed at the last minute, and she did not have a chance to properly vet his claims. She said prison records showed that Davis and Gutierrez were held on different tiers, and were prohibited from accessing each others’ areas of the facility.

At Friday’s hearing, inmate Itisham Butt, who shared a cell with Gutierrez, testified that he was a devout Muslim who has never drank alcohol. He said he wanted to clear his name because he teaches the Muslim faith to other inmates.

“I’ve never drank alcohol in my entire life,” Butt testified.

Butt also said that he was being held on an “honors tier” within the prison that grants privileges to inmates but has strict rules that prohibit hanging out in other cells and visiting other tiers.

Baltimore police commissioner requests FBI take over investigation into killing of Det. Sean Suiter CAPTION

Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis has requested the FBI take over the investigation into the death of Det. Sean Suiter. (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis has requested the FBI take over the investigation into the death of Det. Sean Suiter. (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore sees 319th killing of 2017, eclipsing last year's homicide total CAPTION

Baltimore sees 319th killing of 2017, eclipsing last year's homicide total.

Baltimore sees 319th killing of 2017, eclipsing last year's homicide total.

jfenton@baltsun.com

twitter.com/justin_fenton

  • Fifth Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force officer to plead guilty

  • No word from FBI on Baltimore police request that it take over Det. Sean Suiter investigation

  • What we know: a rundown of police accounts of Detective Sean Suiter's killing

...Read more
Share this

You might also like

Similar