A Baltimore man on Tuesday admitted to killing his roommate, moving the body and attempting to clean the crime scene in Northeast Baltimore last year.

Police found the body of Jeffrey Brooks Jr., 22, in the back of gas station in the 6800 block of Harford Road in late March 2023. Markis Russell, his roommate, was charged in connection to the crime.

Russell, 22, pleaded guilty in Baltimore City Circuit Court to second-degree murder and use of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, according to the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors plan to ask for no less than 35 years in prison, but no more than 40 years. Sentencing is set for Aug. 6.

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Brooks and Russell, both reservists in the the U.S. military, had a dispute over money for a house they shared on the 3100 block of Mary Avenue. It started as a verbal altercation but turned physical before Russell shot and killed Brooks, according to charging documents. Russell then removed Brooks’ body from the house, according to court documents, and attempted to clean the crime scene.

Brooks’ father, Jeffery Brooks Sr., said he knew his son was supposed to have a conversation with Russell regarding $700 in back pay on gas and electric bills. He and family initially reported Brooks Jr. missing after his employer confirmed he did not show for work and he hadn’t been answering his cellphone.

Since the beginning of the investigation, Brooks Sr. feared he and his family would not receive justice. He previously told The Banner that police had a “lackadaisical” approach during the search for his son. The family feels they had to act like the detectives on the crime series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and direct investigators to evidence, he said.

Brooks Sr. said he remains “disappointed” with the authorities’ handling of the case, and said. The state acted as if they never wanted the case to go to trial, he added.

“We [the family] wanted there to be a trial so the 12 jurors could give him life for the life he took so violently,” Brooks Sr. said. “He should have gotten the maximum penalty.”

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Brooks Jr. was the youngest of four children. After graduating from Bard High School Early College in West Baltimore, he wasn’t sure of his future direction, according to his father. He worked a few odd jobs before joining the Army Reserves in 2022, where he met Russell.

Brooks Sr. said he will be present for Russell’s sentencing in August.

“We’ll never know what Jeffrey could’ve been,” he previously said.

Penelope Blackwell is a Breaking News reporter with The Banner. Previously, she covered local government in Durham, NC, for The News & Observer. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Morgan State University and her master’s in journalism from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

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