A jury deliberated for almost three hours hours on Monday without reaching a verdict in the trial of a 16-year-old accused of shooting and killing a man who confronted a group of squeegee workers with a baseball bat near the Inner Harbor.
Baltimore Circuit Judge Jennifer B. Schiffer dismissed the panel at 5:05 p.m. She instructed jurors earlier on charges of first- and second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter and related firearms offenses.
“Please avoid any coverage of this case,” Schiffer said.
Not long after 4:30 p.m. on July 7, 2022, Timothy Reynolds, 48, of Hampden, was shot five times at the intersection of Light and Conway streets, which is close to Oriole Park at Camden Yards. He was later pronounced dead at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Reynolds had some type of interaction with squeegee workers, drove through the intersection, parked his SUV and walked across multiple lanes of traffic to confront them with a bat. He was an engineer and father of three.
The Baltimore Banner is not identifying the teen because of his age. He was 14 at the time and a student at Digital Harbor High School.
In her closing argument, Assistant State’s Attorney Cynthia Banks said, “We wouldn’t be here today if everybody involved just would’ve let it go.”
Reynolds, she said, was angry about something. But he started to walk away with the bat pointed down after realizing that he was outnumbered, Banks said.
Meanwhile, she said, the squeegee workers did not let it go — and followed him. Reynolds swung the bat once in response to an object being thrown at him. He was then hit in the head with a rock and became dazed, Banks said.
The teen retrieved a backpack that contained a 9mm handgun, returned to the confrontation, ran off to cover his face and then came back and fired five times, Banks said. He then ditched the bag and weapon, she said, and took off a pink T-shirt that he had been wearing that afternoon.
Baltimore Police recovered the backpack, which had his DNA on the strap and contained a gun. A firearms examiner testified that the weapon was consistent with the one used in the killing, Banks said.
She walked through dash-camera video and surveillance video of the fatal encounter.
“You watch the video for yourselves,” Banks said. “The video is better than any testimony. Speaks for itself.”
Later, Banks said being 14 is not a “free pass to murder.” She noted that the teen covered his face and highlighted the fact that no one had been near Reynolds when he was shot.
“The defendant had at least three opportunities to retreat — and he didn’t,” Banks said.
In Maryland, people have a duty to retreat before using deadly force outside their home or business.
J. Wyndal Gordon, one of the teen’s attorneys, did not concede that his client was the shooter but contended that prosecutors were trying to Monday morning quarterback his actions.
Gordon asked members of the jury to imagine a 14-year-old trying to process what was happening in real-time. Reynolds, he said, was 6 feet, 3 inches tall and weighed 329 pounds and attacked children with a bat.
“Why do we blame our children for the misdeeds of adults?” Gordon said in his closing argument.
Later, Gordon again tried to intimate — without evidence — that Reynolds’ “X-Men”-themed tattoo that read, “Mutant and Proud” could be related to the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group. Gordon questioned why prosecutors did not call witnesses to testify about Reynolds’ character.
Schiffer called a recess to address repeated objections to that part of his argument and her rulings.
That’s when Gordon accused the judge of being too sensitive to the racial element of the case, which was unfair and constraining him. “Why can’t I argue that it’s a double-entendre?” he asked. “We do know that Proud Boys exist.”
Squeegee workers are mostly young Black men who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and wash windows at various intersections in Baltimore in the hopes of making quick cash. The teen is Black, and Reynolds was white.
Schiffer said her rulings have been based on the Maryland Rules of Evidence, and stated that part of Gordon’s argument was “inflammatory” and “irrelevant.” Gordon continued to talk over her.
“I am speaking now!” Schiffer said. “You are going to let me finish.”
When court resumed, Gordon told the jury that he was passionate about the case and not trying to be cruel or insensitive.
“I would submit to you,” Gordon said, “Mr. Reynolds was the author of his own death.”
Next, Warren Brown, one of the teen’s attorneys, argued that his client acted in defense of others. That’s an absolute defense and requires a verdict of not guilty, Brown said.
The jury is now composed of four men and eight women and will resume deliberations at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday. The judge dismissed one of the jurors earlier in the trial.
The teen is incarcerated in the Youth Detention Center, according to jail records.