Inside a packed Baltimore courtroom, the juror walked past the young man shackled underneath the table, turned to him with a look of sadness in her face and quietly remarked, “I’m sorry.”
The moment came minutes after a jury on Thursday found a 16-year-old guilty of voluntary manslaughter for shooting and killing Timothy Reynolds, 48, of Hampden. Reynolds had confronted a group of squeegee workers with a baseball bat at the intersection Light and Conway streets, not far from Oriole Park at Camden Yards, on July 7, 2022.
The jury also convicted the teen of use of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence and possession of a firearm under the age of 21. But it acquitted him of the most serious charges of first- and second-degree murder.
The verdict means that jurors determined that the teen intentionally killed Reynolds but acted in partial self-defense or partial defense of others. He faces a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison.
The deadly shooting reverberated throughout the city and led to policy changes related to squeegee workers — largely young Black men who wash windows at various intersection in Baltimore in the hopes of receiving tips. Some people praise their entrepreneurial spirit and believe that they’re simply trying to make some quick cash to survive, while others consider them a potentially dangerous nuisance.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott convened the Squeegee Collaborative, composed of about 150 young people, city officials and health care and business leaders, after the shooting. He later announced that the city would implement several new policies from the group, including a ban on squeegeeing at six highly trafficked roads.
The Baltimore Banner is not identifying the young man, who was 14 at the time and attended Digital Harbor High School.
“The outcome of this case does not change the trauma that has been inflicted across the board,” Baltimore State’s Attorney Ivan Bates said in a statement. “A man will never return home to his family, and a young person now faces decades of incarceration.”
The jury of four men and eight women started deliberating on Monday. At one point, though, the case appeared headed for a possible mistrial when a juror did not show up on Wednesday after reporting that she had been experiencing “flu-like symptoms.”
The juror returned on Thursday, and the panel notified the judge that it had reached a verdict at about 11:45 a.m.
The verdict comes more than one year after the deadly shooting. Reynolds had some type of interaction with squeegee workers and then drove through the intersection, parked, retrieved a bat and walked across multiple lanes of traffic. He left his SUV running with the stereo on.
Reynolds, she said, started walking away after realizing that he was outnumbered. Three squeegee workers, though, followed him.
Next, Reynolds swung the bat one time after an object was thrown at him. He was then hit in the head with a rock and became dazed, Banks said.
Banks argued that the teen picked up a backpack that contained a handgun, returned to the confrontation, retreated to cover his face and then fired five times. Reynolds was pronounced dead of multiple gunshot wounds at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland. He was a married father of three and an engineer.
Baltimore Police found a backpack along a fence near a parking garage of a luxury apartment building in the area that contained a 9mm handgun with one cartridge in the chamber and 11 cartridges in a magazine.
An expert in DNA analysis, Christa Wheeler, testified that there was a mixture of at least three contributors on the strap of the backpack. The teen, she said, was a match.
Daniel Lamont, a firearms examiner, testified that the bullets and cartridge casings were consistent with being fired from the gun.
“In this case, we wouldn’t be here today if everybody involved just would’ve let it go,” Banks said in her closing argument.
“All of this, for what? A swing and a miss?” she later asked. “And the retaliation for that is murder?”
But Banks left some dots unconnected about how law enforcement developed the name of the teen and established probable cause to obtain search and seizure warrants for his Instagram accounts and the house where his father and grandmother lived in Essex in Baltimore County.
Baltimore Police Detective Michael Curtin, the secondary homicide detective on the case, testified that he took still photos from the surveillance video and circulated a flyer within the department to see if other officers could identify the shooter.
According to trial testimony, Baltimore Police Officer Kevin Rivera saw a photo the next day and recognized the shooter.
Rivera testified that he interacted with the individual on the Fourth of July on Conway Street but did not know his name. Prosecutors played Rivera’s body camera video from that encounter for the jury.
On the witness stand, Rivera identified the teen as the person captured on his body camera. Banks argued that the young man was wearing some of the same clothing in the footage.
The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office previously reported in court documents that school police officers and personnel identified the teen. None of them were called as witnesses.
Meanwhile, the jury twice sent notes to the judge indicating that it was having difficulty hearing the assistant state’s attorney.
Warren Brown and J. Wyndal Gordon, the teen’s attorneys, questioned the identification of their client while simultaneously arguing that the shooter acted in self-defense or defense of others.
They spotlighted how Reynolds was 6 feet, 3 inches tall and weighed 329 pounds. Several witnesses agreed that a bat can be a deadly weapon and testified that no shots were fired until after Reynolds swung at the squeegee workers.
“I would submit to you Mr. Reynolds was the author of his own death,” Gordon said.
At times, Gordon appeared to test the patience of Circuit Judge Jennifer B. Schiffer, who presided over the trial.
During cross-examination, Gordon asked one witness, “Are you playing with me right now?”
“Excuse me!” Schiffer exclaimed. “Come up here right now.”
Gordon contended that Reynolds had a blood alcohol content higher than the legal limit of 0.08% for driving in Maryland. But Dr. Pamela Ferreira, an assistant medical examiner for the Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, testified that it was 0.03% at the time of death.
Later, Gordon baselessly floated the idea that an “X-Men”-themed tattoo that Reynolds had that read “Mutant and Proud” was a possible reference to the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group. Gordon again tried to raise that claim during his closing arguments and then accused the judge of being too sensitive to the racial element of the case.
Reynolds was white. The teen is Black.
Outside the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse, Brown said he and his client were “feeling pretty good.”
Brown said the state had extended a plea agreement on a charge of second-degree murder. The jury, he said, found that his client acted with some justification, mitigation or excuse.
”This is something that was brought onto this boy’s doorstep,” Brown said. “He wasn’t out looking to cause any havoc, he wasn’t looking to cause anybody any pain.”
Brown said he plans to ask the judge to sentence his client to the juvenile justice system, which would have jurisdiction until the teen turns 21. Meanwhile, Brown said, he intends to file an appeal. He said a “major, major, major issue” will be the decision from Circuit Judge Charles H. Dorsey III denying a previous request to transfer the case to juvenile court.
A spokesperson for the teen’s family, Derede McAlpin, said the trial was “clearly a heart wrenching case on both sides.”
McAlpin said family members are thankful that the jury found the teen not guilty of first- and second-degree murder. They are disappointed, though, that the panel found him guilty of voluntary manslaughter.
”We’re waiting for the legal process to continue,” said McAlpin, who also extended condolences to the Reynolds family. “This is not the end of it.”
Thiru Vignarajah, a former Maryland deputy attorney general who’s representing the Reynolds family, told reporters that there were no winners in the case.
“The family knew from the very beginning that nothing that happens in a courtroom was ever going to bring Tim Reynolds back,” Vignarajah said. “The person who was responsible for his murder has been convicted of killing him. And that brings a small measure of closure and justice to this family, which is what they’ve always wanted.”
Reynolds, he said, was an incredible father, husband, brother and son. He was “a son of Baltimore who loved this city and had a big heart,” Vignarajah said.
As Vignarajah spoke, Becky Reynolds, Timothy Reynolds’ sister, held up a photo of her brother to the press.
”His loss is a profound tragedy, not just to those who knew him and loved him up close but to the entire community,” Vignarajah said. “And I hope the community doesn’t lose perspective.”