Acquitted: Homicide Defendant, Who Witness Says Was Falsely Identified, Found Not Guilty

Baltimore Courthouse

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

After deliberating for about 90 minutes, the jury found homicide defendant Elontae Walker not guilty on all counts on Aug. 6 at Baltimore City Circuit Court. Judge Erik S. Atas presided over the case. 

Walker, 27, was accused of shooting 27-year-old Donald Jackson on the 2700 block of Cold Spring Lane on Aug. 26, 2019. He had been in jail since Sept. 25, 2019. 

Walker was charged with first-degree murder and firearm use in a violent crime, and found not guilty on either charge.

The prosecution’s case relied entirely on a witness’s identification of Walker. However, during the trial on Thursday, the witness testified that detectives encouraged him to falsely identify Walker in the photo array. According to the witness, the shooter had lighter skin and was younger and shorter than the defendant.

On Friday, Walker’s defense attorney, Amy Stone, argued that the “double-blind” procedure was violated during the photo array, making the witness’ identification unreliable. This type of procedure eliminates bias by having the person administering the photo array, and all those present in the room, know nothing about the case. However, the two lead detectives on Walker’s case said they were present during the photo array. 

Additionally, Stone criticized the detective for briefly interviewing the witness long after the alleged murder for the testimony. A video played during the trial, showing the detective interviewing the witness for about three minutes, three weeks after the incident.

The detective also did not ask for a description of the suspect. 

“If there is no description,” Stone asked the court, “then how can Walker fit it?” 

Still, the prosecutor tried to establish the witness’ credibility, saying he was a concerned citizen who voluntarily offered information to the police. The witness, according to the prosecution, was not “bribed” or “manufactured” by detectives. 

The rest of the evidence in the trial was given by expert witnesses who worked on the case. 

The assistant medical examiner, who did Jackson’s autopsy, testified on Friday that his cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds. Jackson sustained 11 gunshot wounds, three of which went through his head. 

A forensic scientist from the firearms unit of the Baltimore Police Department testified on Friday that Jackson was shot by two people, citing cartridge cases recovered from the crime scene that show mark identifications for two different guns. The forensic scientist said seven bullets came from one gun, and four bullets came from the other. 
On Friday evening, the 12-member jury found Walker not guilty of Jackson’s murder.