The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office and defense attorneys for a 15-year-old who’s accused of shooting and killing a man who approached a group of squeegee workers have reached an agreement on a plea offer that would call for the case to be sent to juvenile court — over the objections of the victim’s family.
A grand jury had indicted the teen in adult court on a charge of first-degree murder in the killing of Timothy Reynolds, which became a flashpoint in debate about squeegee workers in Baltimore. Prosecutors intend to offer a plea agreement on a reduced charge of manslaughter, but it will be up to Circuit Judge Charles H. Dorsey III to decide whether to approve the transfer to juvenile court and then proceed with that resolution.
In a statement, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby called the actions the teen is accused of “wholly unacceptable and inexcusable,” but added that she stood behind her office’s recommendation that the judge send the case to juvenile court.
Mosby said her decision is based on all the facts and circumstances of the case. She said she could not publicly discuss many of those factors because of the age of the teen as well as the fact that the matter is pending.
She said cases involving minors are challenging, adding that the judge will decide whether the case remains in adult court or be sent to the juvenile justice system.
“There are no winners in this tragic incident and I am disheartened by the pain and anguish it has caused in our community,” Mosby said. “My thoughts and prayers are with Timothy Reynolds’ family as they continue to deal with this unfathomable loss.”
Speaking at a news conference behind the War Memorial, Thiru Vignarajah, an attorney who’s representing the Reynolds family pro bono, described the proposed plea agreement as “a joke,” “just laughable” and “ridiculous.”
In Maryland, people can be detained until the age of 21 in the juvenile justice system.
Prosecutors did not notify family members before extending the plea agreement, he said, and they vehemently object to the deal. Mosby did not address Vignarajah’s claim.
“They have remained private. They have remained quiet, believing that the process would work. That the wheels of justice, though slow, would turn in a righteous direction,” said Vignarajah, who unsuccessfully ran for Baltimore state’s attorney in 2018 and 2022. “Their faith in that has been betrayed.”
Vignarajah said he’s seen different surveillance video of the shooting and stated that “this was not a case of self-defense.”
Reynolds’ sister, Becky, said “it feels like we are being victimized all over again.”
”Our family is absolutely devastated by the loss of our beloved loved one,” she said. “This was a senseless murder. Did not have to happen. And we are being further victimized by the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, who took an oath to fight for the victim. And the victim is not being fought for here.”
Reynolds’ wife, Shannon, said she felt blindsided about the proposed deal and also disputed claims from the teen’s attorneys that the shooting was in self-defense.
”It’s very hard for me to speak. I’m a private person,” she said. “But I want justice for Tim, and I need everyone’s help.”
Reynolds had “some type of interaction” with squeegee workers, Baltimore Police reported. He then drove through the intersection, parked his vehicle and walked across eight lanes of traffic while carrying a baseball bat, according to preliminary accounts from police and eyewitnesses.
The Baltimore Banner later obtained a 45-second dashcam video of the shooting, but the clip does not capture the beginning of the encounter.
The video starts with Reynolds walking away from the intersection while pointing the bat at three squeegee workers. They’re following him from about 20 feet away.
Next, Reynolds walks in front of a car and out of view of the camera. That’s when squeegee workers “seemingly surround him,” according to a description of the video in a police report.
Reynolds then swings the bat while running toward them. One appears to hit him in the head while he has the bat raised toward another squeegee worker.
Three seconds later, that squeegee worker pulls out a gun and starts shooting.
A police report describing the video states that Reynolds “stumbles after being hit in the head with the rock and appears to become disoriented.” The squeegee worker then started firing while running away.
Police later arrested and charged the 15-year-old with first-degree murder and related offenses in the killing. He was 14 at the time and attended Digital Harbor High School.
The Banner is not identifying the teen. That’s because he’s awaiting a determination about whether the matter should be adjudicated in juvenile court, which would lead to the case and his identity being permanently sealed.
Under Maryland law, people have a duty to retreat outside the home or their business before using deadly force.
For decades, squeegee workers — mostly Black men and youths — have washed windshields for tips at busy intersection. The practice has at times led to tense encounters.
Last week, Mayor Brandon Scott released the final report of the Squeegee Collaborative, a group of about 150 young people as well as city, health care and business leaders. Baltimore will begin enforcing a ban on squeegeeing at six roads in January and offering paid workforce training to those who agree to stop washing windshields.
Scott convened the group after the deadly shooting.
The Snyder Law Group LLC is representing the Reynolds family, and the law firm has notified the city that it intends to file a multimillion-dollar lawsuit over his death.
Michael Snyder, the Reynolds family’s civil attorney, said the firm is “continuing to investigate and pursue the case.”
Snyder said family members have for the first time watched video of the shooting
“Contrary to what defense lawyers have been saying, Mr. Reynolds was not — let me repeat that — he was not a bat-wielding maniac.”
Later in the afternoon, J. Wyndal Gordon and Warren Brown, the teen’s attorneys, held a news conference during which they stated that their client’s case belongs in the juvenile justice system.
Gordon said counsel on both sides took a thorough and comprehensive look at the facts and evidence during plea negotiations.
“Obviously, we wanted more than what we got. And they wanted more than what they got,” Gordon said. “But we found something that we both could live with, and so we’re hoping that the judge would just honor the hard work and dedication that all counsel put into this case to arrive at these results.”
Meanwhile, Brown brought up a recent opinion from the Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, which outlines a legal standard that judges should apply when making these types of decisions.
The case law, he said, “screams out for this case to be transferred to juvenile court.”
Brown said his client — if he was the shooter — had been acting at least in partial self-defense. The killing was not premeditated, he said.
The teen’s mother, Aijah Gatson, then briefly spoke to reporters about her feelings.
Said Gatson: “It’s just hard.”