Court’s Failure to Issue Defendant’s Writ Delays Murder Sentencing

Thank you for reading Baltimore Witness. Help us continue our mission into 2024.

Donate Now

The sentencing of convicted homicide defendant Cristino Flores-Perez was postponed until earlier January 2024 after the Baltimore City Circuit Court failed to issue a writ for the defendant’s court appearance.

Flores-Perez was initially scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 30 before Judge John A. Howard. However, the court learned the defendant was never transported from a prison facility in Howard County because a writ ordering his appearance was not issued.

A miscommunication between the court and defense attorney Antonios Heper also resulted in Heper’s appearing via Zoom. Judge Howard informed Heper that the attorney must be physically present for the sentencing and the Zoom link was created for the benefit of the defendant’s family that lives in California.

Flores-Perez’s sentencing was rescheduled for Jan. 5, 2024.

The 30-year-old defendant previously accepted a plea offer from the prosecution in connection to the murder of fellow prisoner Shane Burton on Aug. 27, 2021. Burton was found stabbed to death in a pool of blood inside the prison cell of Flores-Perez and his co-defendant, Khalil Madden, at the Maryland Reception, Diagnostic and Classification Center on the 500 block of E. Madison Street.

The prosecutor agreed to amend the defendant’s charges from first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder to second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder. Flores-Perez will serve 40 years for second-degree murder and 60 years, suspending all but 40 years, with five years of supervised probation for conspiracy to commit second-degree murder.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Flores-Perez’s sentence will run concurrently to the 40-year sentence he accepted in another plea for a first-degree murder from Sept. 15, 2019. In this case, Flores-Perez was convicted of stabbing his cousin, Jesse Perez, on the 100 block of Rochester Place.

Follow this case