Homicide Defendant on Trial for Barber Shop Killing

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On Feb. 9, a 45-year-old homicide defendant attended court appeared before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Dana M. Middleton.

Donte Simms is charged with first-degree murder, firearm use in a felony violent crime and firearm possession with a felony conviction in connection to murder the murder of 35-year-old Eric Plater on Aug. 15, 2022.

The assistant state’s attorney indicated to the jury in her opening statement that there was no surveillance footage inside the barber shop where the murder took place; there was only footage from the exterior. With that she encouraged the jury to wait until the end of the trial to make their judgment.

Defense attorney Bradley L. MacFee referred to the defendant as not only his client, but his friend. MacFee described Simms as a dutiful barber shop owner. While most criminals have illicit careers, he said the defendant  “operate[d] within the law.”

MacFee said while he understood Plater’s death was a sad fact, he explained that this case was about credibility. The statement was aimed at the prosecution witness who is also on trial in a separate case, with MacFee claiming he is an “infamous jailhouse snitch.”

Documents from the District Court of Maryland state that on Aug. 15, 2022, Baltimore Police Department officers responded to a report of an overdose on the 300 block of Park Avenue. At the scene, medics indicated that there was a gunshot wound on the victim’s upper right chest. Plater was sent to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was pronounced dead.

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