A Baltimore judge has set trial in July for the 15-year-old squeegee worker accused of fatally shooting a driver wielding a baseball bat last summer.
The teen, who faces first-degree murder and gun charges, is scheduled for trial July 17 in Baltimore Circuit Court. Judge Jennifer Schiffer will preside over his two-week trial.
During a hearing Tuesday, his defense attorneys expressed frustration that prosecutors repeatedly sought to postpone the proceedings. The courts took nearly six months to schedule the trial.
“Now we have something to look forward to,” said J. Wyndal Gordon, a defense attorney for the teen. “Prior to then, my client was sitting in jail with no end in sight.”
The deadly encounter last summer between squeegee workers and driver Timothy Reynolds became a flash point in the debate over the practice of young men who wash car windows at city intersections for tips. Beginning Tuesday, city officials are banning window washing at six of the busiest intersections downtown and citing those who refuse to comply.
The enforcement plan also brings job opportunities as officials hope to steer young men off the street corners.
It all comes after Reynolds, 48, of Hampden, was shot and killed July 7 at the intersection of Light and Conway streets after he parked his SUV, walked across eight lanes of traffic and confronted a group of squeegee workers with a baseball bat, according to preliminary accounts from police and eyewitnesses.
Baltimore Police arrested the youth, who was 14 at the time of the shooting and attended Digital Harbor High School, one week later. His defense attorneys tried to have the case transferred to juvenile court, but a judge rejected the transfer.
Defense attorneys for the teen, Gordon and Warren Brown, maintained that their client — if he was the shooter — acted at least in partial self-defense and that the juvenile justice system would best serve him and the interest of public safety.
Former Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby removed veteran homicide prosecutor Rita Wisthoff-Ito from the case following allegations that she leaked confidential court documents to an attorney for the Reynolds family. Mosby lost re-election to Ivan Bates, who was sworn in last week as Baltimore state’s attorney. Now, Wisthoff-Ito is again prosecuting the teen’s case.
Wisthoff-Ito told the judge Tuesday that she will try the case along with Assistant State’s Attorney Cynthia Banks.
The Banner obtained a 45-second dashcam video that shows the final moments of the encounter. In court documents, Wisthoff-Ito included photos from a different surveillance video and provided the following account of the killing:
When Reynolds was stopped at a red light at Conway and Light streets, the teen approached and leaned on his SUV.
Next, Reynolds turned left onto Light Street, parked, got out of his vehicle and walked across the road with the bat held down.
The teen retrieved a book bag and walked back toward the other squeegee workers. The group was arguing with Reynolds.
That’s when the youth ran back and pulled a ski mask down over his face. He returned to the confrontation.
As Reynolds walked back toward his vehicle, three squeegee workers — including the teen — followed him. One of the squeegee workers started throwing rocks at Reynolds, and they formed a half circle around him.
Reynolds turned around, moved toward the squeegee workers and swung the bat one time over his head. One of them ran up and hit him in the head with a brick or piece of concrete.
Prosecutors wrote in court records that Reynolds was clearly disoriented. He spun around and wobbled to gain his balance, prosecutors wrote, and held the bat up in the air to try to steady himself before starting to fall.
The teen — who was the farthest person from Reynolds — shot him five times, prosecutors said.