Defense Argues Victim Didn’t See Shooter Outside Sinclair Gates Apartments

Baltimore Courthouse

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The validity of a victim’s testimony identifying his alleged shooter was put into question by defense counsel on March 26 during closing arguments.

Desmond Powell is currently on trial for attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment and several weapons charges for allegedly shooting a man outside Sinclair Gates Apartments on the 5500 block of Bowleys Lane on July 17, 2022. The jury began their deliberations on Tuesday after hearing testimony the day prior before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge John A. Howard.

Defense attorney Brandon Taylor argued that the victim was the aggressor in the incident and “got in the defendant’s face.” The victim previously testified that he walked out of the apartment building to retrieve a gift for his child that he left in his moped. Taylor said this was when the victim heard a familiar voice, went around the corner of the building and approached his client who was arguing with someone the victim knew.

When questioned by Taylor on the stand earlier in the trial, the victim told the defense attorney that he told Powell that he shouldn’t be arguing with his friend. The victim then told Baltimore Police Department (BPD) detectives that the person who shot him was on the curb and identified Powell.

However, video evidence never showed Powell on the curb, Taylor said.

“When he first got on the stand, [the victim] said, ‘I don’t know who shot me,’” Taylor said. “And then, he changed it up later.”

Detectives later “hammered [Powell] over and over and over again” to get the defendant to confess to the shooting, defense counsel added. Although the victim was able to identify Powell as the person he physically fought, defense counsel said, the shooter cannot be accurately identified.

The prosecution reiterated her argument from her opening statement, saying that the victim got the upper hand as the two fought and tackled Powell to the ground. As they both got back up, the defendant reached into his waistband, grabbed a gun and fired twice at the victim.

“Why? Because you’re losing a fight?” the prosecutor said. “Why? Because your embarrassed?”

During her rebuttal, the prosecutor broke down video of the incident, showing jurors how the victim apparently attempted to step away from Powell while the third man attempted to diffuse the situation. The prosecutor also countered defense counsel’s argument that the victim had a weapon, saying that the victim had one of his two cell phones in his left hand throughout most of the incident.

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