Acquitted: Defendant Found Not Guilty in 2019 Homicide Case

Editor’s note: The defendant was acquitted of charges in this case.

After deliberating for about seven hours, the jury found homicide defendant Tyrek Hodge not guilty on all counts, including first-degree murder, on Aug. 3 at the Baltimore City Circuit Court. Judge Barry G. Williams presided over the case. 

Hodge, 20, was accused of killing his friend, 19-year-old Evan Brewington, on the night of Aug. 17, 2019, and then setting a car on fire to hide the evidence. 

He has been in jail since Nov. 20, 2019. 

On the first day of trial, the Deputy Chief Medical Examiner who did Brewington’s autopsy testified  that the victim died due to injuries from six bullet wounds: one to the chin, chest, abdomen, shoulder, forearm, and knee.

The defendant was charged with first and second-degree murder, firearm use in a violent crime, possession of a firearm as a minor, carrying a handgun on his person, and transporting a handgun in a vehicle. 

He also previously faced charges of second-degree arson and conspiracy to commit second-degree arson. However, on the second day of trial, defense attorney Adam Frank successfully motioned to dismiss these charges due to insufficient evidence in connecting Hodge to the burned vehicle. Surveillance footage presented on Friday showed the car being set on fire on the 2200 block of W. Lanvale Street, within half a mile of the location of the murder. Investigators found keys to the stolen vehicle in Hodge’s friend’s home.

The prosecutor’s primary piece of evidence was a witness’ identification of Hodge in a photo array, along with his testimony of that night.

However, Frank questioned the credibility of the witness, who was a friend of the victim and the defendant. On Thursday, the witness testified that he was in the car with Hodge and Brewington when they got into an argument. He said another friend was also present. The prosecution could not locate the other friend.  

They stopped the car on the 700 block of Whitmore Avenue, where Hodge and Brewington got out and began fighting. The witness testified that he also got out of the car, saw Hodge shoot Brewington, and then the witness ran off. 

However, Frank pointed out that the witness’s testimony contradicted his statement to the Baltimore Police Department on Nov. 6, 2019. Despite saying then that he was not present at the shooting, he testified on Thursday that he’d been there, outside of the car. 

The witness said everyone was outside of the car during the first shot. However, detectives’ testified on Friday that a video was recovered from the victim and defendant’s friend, which suggested that Hodge shot Brewington while the two were sitting inside the car.

During closing arguments on Aug. 2, Frank argued that because of these inconsistencies, the witness is unreliable. Frank threw blame onto the other friend there that night, who failed to appear in court and is currently missing. 

However, the prosecution stressed, despite Frank’s speculation, the witness identified Hodge in a photo array. The prosecution argued that Hodge had moments between each of the six shots to decide to shoot again, thereby supporting a first-degree murder conviction.

On Tuesday, the seven women and five men on the jury panel found Hodge not guilty of all charges.