Thank you for reading Baltimore Witness. Help us continue our mission into 2024.Donate Now
Defense counsel has four defenses, or excuses, a Baltimore City prosecutor told jurors on Feb. 6 during closing arguments in the trial of homicide defendant Sahiou Kargbo.
The 19-year-old defendant’s five-day trial concluded before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Schiffer on Monday afternoon when the prosecution and defense attorney Todd Oppenheim presented their final arguments of Kargbo’s alleged role in the murder of 43-year-old James Blue.
The incident occurred on Jan. 25, 2022, on the 1400 block of Walker Avenue.
Kargbo was found guilty of second-degree murder—a lesser included charge for first-degree murder—and three weapons charges on the same day as closing arguments. He is scheduled for sentencing on June 2 before Judge Schiffer.
The first defense is that this shooting was justified, the prosecutor continued, before telling the jury that Blue was shot ten times, while the defense’s excuse was, “This is Baltimore.” Blue was also not an ordinary person, she said, as some of his relatives are police officers or work with Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, and he has a low IQ.
However, the prosecutor said that a key to this trial was the defense’s defense, specifically Kargbo’s testimony during his trial.
“He took the stand, and he told you he did it, but he had to do it because he was afraid for his life and [his aunt’s life],” the prosecutor said. The defendant was “cool as a cucumber” on the stand for this being a tough time in his life, she added.
Kargbo’s phrasing was also odd and often sounded rehearsed, the prosecutor said. Examples included the defendant saying he “exited” the vehicle, went to “residence,” and “feared for my safety.”
“Who talks like that?” the prosecutor asked the jury. “He didn’t appear to be telling the truth. He appeared to be using all the right buzz words that would match up with the [jury] instructions you just heard in hopes that you would fall for the story he was trying to sell.”
This is a manslaughter case, Oppenheim countered, echoing his argument from his opening statement days earlier.
“This was imperfect self-defense,” Oppenheim said. “That means the self-defense wasn’t entirely reasonable. Don’t fall into [the prosecution’s] politically and crime statistically-driven tactic in overcharging this case as a murder.”
The notion that this was a planned act was an “absolute joke,” the defense attorney explained, saying that Kargbo had no motive nor premeditation. Oppenheim said that the prosecution also failed to explain why Blue was found with a gun in his possession.Follow this case