Grandfather and Grandson Co-Defendants Found Not Guilty in 2020 Murder

Baltimore Courthouse

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

Donate Now

“Convict them of murder anyway. That’s offensive,” said defense attorney Staci Pipkins on the last day of trial for a homicide co-defendant accused of murdering 25-year-old Devante Smith before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Daniels

On May 12, a jury found co-defendant Gary Watkins not guilty of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. 

Watkins, 58, was found guilty of second-degree murder. 

Co-defendant Donte Gregg was found not guilty of second-degree murder.

According to the prosecution, Watkins got into an argument with the shooting victim on Feb. 7, 2020. Watkins called Gregg and two other masked individuals to the 300 block of South Mason Court. Smith was shot and the masked individuals ran off in Watkin’s truck. 

The prosecution said Gregg was accused of the second-degree murder of Smith because he was an accomplice. 

Watkins was accused of first-degree murder because “he is the one who encouraged. He is one who waited for them. He is the one they ran off with.” 

On Friday, Pipkins, who represented 21-year-old Gregg, addressed the jury that the homicide detective of the case was incapable of looking at both sides of the story before making charges against her client. 

During Gregg’s interview with the homicide detective, Gregg said, “I know for a fact. I know for a fact I didn’t kill nobody.” 

Pipkin argued that her client had no relation to the shooting.  

Defense attorney John Cox, who represented Watkins, said that “I can’t provide evidence that my client ever talked to, spoken to, or even knew Devante Smith.” 

Cox argues that it is not logical to assume that there is premeditated evidence against his client. 

He told the jury that the prosecution was “merely speculating,” which was “offensive” because his client is being tried for first-degree murder.

At the conclusion of the trial, Pipkins addressed the jury that homicide detectives got the call to charge murder, but now they get to make the call. 

Follow this case