- August 23, 2022
Court | Daily Stories | Homicides | Shooting | Suspects | Uncategorized | Victims |
A jury convicted one of three co-defendants for his participation in the shooting of two people in West Baltimore on Nov. 14, 2019.
On Aug. 22, Malik Brooks was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit murder, and four counts of firearm use during the commission of a violent crime. He faces a maximum penalty of 180 years in prison.
Brooks, 22, Devon Bynum, 19, and Kiray Walker, 21, were initially accused of killing Courtney Richardson, 22, and Aryanna James, 22, on the 1900 block of McHenry Street during a spree of robberies by gunpoint and carjackings between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.
Brooks was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit murder, and four counts of firearm use during the commission of a violent crime. He faces a maximum penalty of 180 years in prison.
According to the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, Bynum pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
On Aug. 16, Brooks’ co-defendant, Walker, was found guilty of two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, two counts of the use of a firearm to commit a violent crime, conspiracy to commit armed carjacking, two counts of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and three counts of conspiracy to use a firearm in a violent crime. He faces a maximum sentence of 200 years in prison.
Before closing arguments in Brooks’ trial on Aug. 19, Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Videtta Brown asked the prosecution if an officer had checked the 9mm gun sitting in an evidence box in front of him. He informed her that one had not, and she called an officer to remove the gun from the room to perform the proper safety check.
While adjusting Brooks’ suit collar as he spoke, attorney Jerome Bivens acknowledged his client’s parents in the room and began to read him his rights regarding his decision not to testify.
Brooks’ mother sat looking out, bouncing her knees as the judge read the charges weighed against her son.
The prosecution led their closing arguments with an audio recording of Brooks from a detention center following his arrest. “They finally grabbed us,” Brooks could be heard saying as he described the night he was arrested with Walker and Bynum. “I tried to run,” he said, but that is when the tires blew out.
The prosecution followed with images of the damaged Honda Civic Brooks allegedly used to flee.
Earlier in the trial, officers testified to locating the stolen Honda Civic and a stolen Monte Carlo, setting up surveillance, and watching the three suspects get into the cars and drive away.
In another call played by the prosecution, Brooks, while in custody, could be heard talking about Walker’s decision to bring the 9mm gun, which was later discovered to be one of two guns used in the killing of Richardson and James. “I told him not to touch it.”
“This gun,” said the prosecution as he opened the white box and showed the jury the 9mm recovered from Walker during his arrest.
Through ballistic evidence, a second gun, a .40 caliber, was connected to the homicide, but it was never recovered.
The defense spotlighted this fact during their closing arguments, but the possibility of a tampered investigation was Bivens main focus.
“I’m hung up on this crime scene log,” proclaimed Bivens. The defense argued that missing names of officers present at the scene along with civilians that were never interviewed but seen on surveillance videos showed flaws in the investigation and possible scene contamination.
“You may have bad cops out there, but we will never know because the crime scene log is incomplete,” said Bivens.
In addition, investigators did not collect DNA or fingerprints from the stolen cars or the weapon recovered, he said.
The list was topped with Bivens’ perceived “Froiden Slip” made by the officer who testified to filling out the documents associated with logging the 9mm before the evidence was stored. The officer used the word “manipulate” to describe the handling of the evidence, a word which Bivens defined as an “unintentional error regarded as revealing subconscious feelings.” The definition displayed on the massive television screen for the jury to read.
Bivens also warned the jury to be critical of the “grainy” footage from around the crime scene.
In the prosecution’s closing argument, he made a connection between the two-tone jacket Brooks was arrested in and what one of three men could be seen wearing as he approached the victims.
During his rebuttal, the prosecution replayed more video from that night, turning up the volume so that the gallery could hear the groans of the victims as civilians asked if they had seen who did the shooting.
One by one, those with connections to the victims left the courtroom, leaving one sole family member to listen alone.
After deliberating for only two day a jury also found Brooks guilty of armed carjacking, two counts of armed robbery, two counts of first-degree assault, conspiracy to commit armed carjacking, two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree assault, two counts to conspiracy to commit armed robbery and two counts of conspiracy to use a firearm in the commission of a violent crime.Notifications are not yet available for this specific case. Please check back later for updates. Thank you.