A Baltimore judge on Thursday rejected a plea deal and ruled that the case of a 15-year-old accused of shooting and killing a man who approached a group of squeegee workers with a baseball bat will remain in adult court, attorneys for both sides said.

The teen is facing charges of first-degree murder and related offenses.

Circuit Judge Charles H. Dorsey III made that decision during a hearing in a case that reignited debate in Baltimore about squeegee workers, mostly young Black men and youth who have for decades washed windshields at various intersections for tips.

Timothy Reynolds, 48, of Hampden, was shot and killed on 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.

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Baltimore Police arrested the youth, who was 14 at the time of the shooting and attended Digital Harbor High School, one week later. A grand jury on Aug. 2 indicted him on charges including first-degree murder, which is an intentional killing with willfulness, deliberation and premeditation.

In Maryland, people who are 14 or older automatically face charges as adults if an offense carries a potential life sentence. Children who are charged as adults can file a motion to transfer their cases to juvenile court, which would have jurisdiction until age 21.

“We are not celebrating,” Becky Reynolds, Timothy Reynolds’ sister, told reporters outside the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center. “There are no winners in this case. And we just are going to continue to get justice for my brother.”

Thiru Vignarajah, an attorney who’s representing the Reynolds family pro bono, launched an intense press campaign in the days leading up to the hearing in opposition to a proposed plea agreement that called for a lesser charge of manslaughter to be adjudicated in juvenile court.

Vignarajah called the shooting a “profound, unthinkable tragedy on so many levels.”

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But justice and the law, he said, require for the case to stay in adult court.

“This is not a victory. It is not a cause for celebration,” said Vignarajah, who previously ran for Baltimore state’s attorney in 2018 and 2022 as well as mayor in 2020. “But it is a moment where the wheels of justice are turning in the right direction.”

The teen’s mother, Aijah Gatson, left the courthouse in tears.

Her son is being held without bail in the Youth Detention Center. The Baltimore Banner is not naming him because of his age.

His defense attorneys, Warren Brown and J. Wyndal Gordon, have 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.

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Brown said the ruling was not “totally unexpected.” Dorsey, he said, is a man of great integrity and character.

But Brown called it a “sad commentary” on the city that people were waiting on word of the decision in the case instead of wondering whether their client would attend Penn State or Maryland.

“The reality of it is there are thousands of kids who could be right here today in this city,” Brown said. “And unless there’s a monumental effort made to provide the services, the quality of education, the programming, we’re going to be back here again.”

J. Wyndal Gordon speaks at a press conference after the trial that determined the case would remain in the adult court on Nov. 17, 2022. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

Meanwhile, Gordon said, he was proud of his co-counsel and defense team, stating that they “left it all in the courtroom.”

“This is not the end,” Gordon said. “This is the beginning.”

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The Banner obtained a 45-second dashcam video that shows the final moments of the encounter.

In court documents, Assistant State’s Attorney Rita Wisthoff-Ito, the initial prosecutor, included photos from a different surveillance video and provided the following account of the killing:

When Timothy Reynolds was stopped at a red light at Conway and Light streets, the teen approached and leaned on his SUV.

Next, Timothy 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 Timothy Reynolds.

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That’s when the youth ran back and pulled a ski mask down over his face. He returned to the confrontation.

As Timothy Reynolds walked back toward his vehicle, three squeegee workers — including the teen — followed him. One of the squeegee workers started throwing rocks at Timothy Reynolds, and they formed a half circle around him.

Timothy 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, leaving a 1 1/2-inch cut.

Prosecutors said Timothy Reynolds was clearly disoriented. He spun around and wobbled to gain his balance, prosecutors said, 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 Timothy Reynolds — shot him five times, prosecutors said.

Earlier in the week, Vignarajah walked reporters through that court document and contended that the shooting was premediated murder.

The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office then removed Wisthoff-Ito from the case, accusing her of leaking confidential juvenile court records to Vignarajah.

Last week, Mayor Brandon Scott released the final report from the Squeegee Collaborative, a group composed of about 150 young people as well as city, health care and business leaders. Baltimore plans to start enforcing a ban on squeegeeing at six intersections in January and offering paid workforce training for those who agree to stop washing windshields.

The Snyder Law Group LLC is representing the Reynolds family in potential civil litigation and has notified the city that it intends to file a multimillion-dollar lawsuit.

Dorsey excluded the public and news media from the courtroom. The Banner and the Daily Record filed a motion to intervene and open the court proceedings, but he denied that request without a hearing in a one-sentence order in which he wrote that it appeared that “no good cause exists for granting of such motion.”

Baltimore sheriff’s deputies blocked the entrance of the courtroom and later ordered reporters out of the building.

In a statement, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said the judge did not have an easy decision to make but issued his ruling in the “interest of justice and fairness.”

“As I’ve stated before, there are no winners in this case,” Mosby said. “A man has lost his life and a child will have to face consequences because of his inexcusable and reckless actions.”

“The juvenile system is rooted in the goal of reform, and it is my sincere hope that this young man will turn his life around and forever remember the damage he has done to the Reynolds’ family,” she added. “My thoughts are with them during this incredibly difficult time.”

dylan.segelbaum@thebaltimorebanner.com

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