An attorney for the family of Timothy Reynolds released state evidence Tuesday that showed a squeegee worker retrieved a gun from a backpack, pulled down a ski mask and shot Reynolds in his back — facts the attorney says should cause a judge to deny the teen charged in the killing a chance to plead out to a reduced charge this week.
The details came in a 13-page pleading filed by Baltimore prosecutors this week. The case file has been sealed under state law while the teen remains eligible for transfer to juvenile court.
Thiru Vignarajah, the Reynolds family attorney, said he took the unusual step of sharing the document because defense attorneys have mischaracterized facts of the case and prosecutors have merely “joined their buddies on the defense team.”
“A fiction has been presented to the public. A fiction that the victim was some crazed, intoxicated, bat-wielding maniac who viciously attacked a number of children, and the children, in the heat of the moment, in self-defense and in a lapse of judgment, fired back because they had to,” Vignarajah told reporters. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Vignarajah shared the state’s document as he pushes to block a verbal agreement between defense attorneys and prosecutors to move the teen’s case to juvenile court on a reduced charge.
A Baltimore grand jury indicted the teen in August on the charge of first-degree murder. The charge meant his case would at least begin in adult court, with a maximum penalty of life in prison. A Baltimore judge will decide Thursday whether to accept a plea agreement between the teen’s defense attorneys and prosecutors that would send the case to juvenile court on the lesser charge of manslaughter. The teen’s defense attorneys have argued that he acted in self-defense after Reynolds confronted a group of squeegee workers with a baseball bat.
“You don’t get to walk into the fray with a gun and a mask on and then later claim it was self-defense,” Vignarajah said.
Reynolds, 48, of Hampden, was shot and killed on July 7 at the intersection of Light and Conway streets near the Inner Harbor.
His family has opposed the proposed plea agreement, speaking publicly for the first time Monday about their displeasure with the deal. The Office of Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has shown no sign of budging. The office released a statement Monday calling the actions the teen is accused of “unacceptable and inexcusable,” but it also said prosecutors stand firm in their decision that his case belongs in juvenile court.
A spokesperson for the office declined to comment further on Tuesday.
A reduction in charges to manslaughter would send the case to juvenile court. There, a child faces a maximum penalty of being detained until the age of 21. The Banner is not identifying the teen while his case remains sealed with the possibility of a transfer to juvenile court.
Under state law, first-degree murder is defined as the “intentional killing of another person with willfulness, deliberation and premeditation.” A defendant must have intended to kill the victim and been conscious of his or her intent to kill.
“Premeditated means that the defendant thought about the killing and that there was enough time before the killing, though it may only have been brief, for the defendant to consider the decision whether or not to kill and enough time to weigh the reasons for and against the choice. The premeditated intent to kill must be formed before the killing,” according to the state’s jury instructions for a first-degree murder charge.
The charge of manslaughter does not require premeditation or intent, but that a defendant acted in a grossly negligent manner.
“‘Grossly negligent’ means that the defendant, while aware of the risk, acted in a manner that created a high degree of risk to, and showed a reckless disregard for, human life,” according to jury instructions for the charge.
Circuit Judge Charles H. Dorsey III is set on Thursday to consider whether to keep the case in adult court or send it to juvenile court.
The Baltimore Banner and The Daily Record filed a motion to intervene and open the court proceedings. But Dorsey on Tuesday denied that request in a one-sentence order, writing that “no good cause exists for granting of such motion.”
Vignarajah also disputed statements made by the teen’s defense attorney that Reynolds had a blood alcohol content over the legal limit when he confronted the squeegee workers. Prosecutors wrote in the pleading that his blood alcohol content was 0.03% — below the legal limit of 0.08%.
Prosecutors included still frames from the surveillance video in the court document and described the encounter:
The teen first approached Reynolds’ car when it was stopped at a red light at Conway and Light streets, prosecutors wrote in court documents.
Reynolds then turns left on Light Street, parks and walks across the street toward the squeegee workers while holding a baseball bat that’s pointed down. The teen then walks across the street and picks up a bag containing a gun, according to prosecutors.
Next, the teen runs back to join the group of squeegee workers who are arguing with Reynolds. The youth then steps away and pulls a ski mask over his face before coming back, prosecutors wrote.
As Reynolds walks back across the street toward his car, prosecutors wrote that three squeegee workers — including the teen — follow him.
When Reynolds is halfway across the street, the prosecution claims that one of them started throwing rocks at him. At that point, the squeegee workers had formed a half circle around Reynolds.
Reynolds turns around and moves toward the group while swinging the bat once over his head. A squeegee worker then runs up and hits him directly in the head with a brick or piece of concrete, leaving a 1 1/2-inch cut on his head, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors described Reynolds as clearly disoriented from that hit, adding that he’s trying to gain his balance and holding the bat up in the air to steady himself before he starts to fall.
Prosecutors wrote that the teen — who’s the farthest away — shoots Reynolds as he’s turning away. Reynolds drops to the ground after he’s shot in the head, and the youth continues to fire for a total of five times, according to prosecutors.
The teen’s DNA was found on a strap of the bag, prosecutors also wrote in the court documents.
Vignarajah unsuccessfully ran for Baltimore state’s attorney in 2018 and 2022 as well as mayor in 2020. He has spoken out publicly for crime victims and criticized plea deals offered by Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.
On Monday, he invited news reporters downtown near the War Memorial with Reynolds’ sister, Becky, and wife, Shannon, to denounce the proposed plea agreement in the case.
The teen’s attorneys, J. Wyndal Gordon and Warren Brown, held their own news conference Monday in support of the plea deal.
In response to Tuesday’s claims, Gordon said Vignarajah was taking “creative license to alter the facts of the case,” describing it as a distraction.
”This really is a juvenile matter and should be handled in juvenile court,” Gordon insisted.
The teen who was charged was 14 at the time of the shooting and went to Digital Harbor High School. He remains held without bail in the Youth Detention Center.