Judge Declares Mistrial for Two Defendants Charged in a Double Homicide

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On Oct. 31, after a jury heard closing arguments and the beginning of deliberations in the trial of two defendants charged with double homicide, a mistrial was declared.

On the 700 block of Grantley Street, in the Edmondson Village neighborhood, 20-year-old Pedro Chesley and Diamond Davis, his 21-year-old longtime girlfriend, were shot multiple times on Nov. 21, 2020. A surviving female victim was also shot twice, while Chesley and Davis both succumbed to their injuries. 

Chesley was a student at Morgan State University, where had joined the Army ROTC program. According to his family, he was a responsible and positive student, who was passionate about his military career. He and Davis had gone to prom together and were high school sweethearts, according to the Baltimore Sun

Charles Baldwin and his co-defendant Mizell Taylor were each charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, three counts of using a firearm to commit a violent crime, having a handgun on person, first-degree assault and reckless endangerment. 

According to the prosecutor, Baldwin, 23, and Taylor, 21, were identified by witnesses who were present at the scene the night of the shooting. The prosecutor told the jury that two female acquaintances had been planning to have a “fist fight” in the area that night, where both defendants, along with two other acquaintances were present. 

“Mizell Taylor and Charles Baldwin brought guns to a street fight,” the prosecutor said. “The intent that night was to kill both Mr. Chelsey and Ms. Davis.” 

However, attorneys for both defendants claimed there was a lack of physical evidence and that the surviving victim, who testified during the trial, was lying about who the shooters were. 

Judge Sylvester B. Cox gave a stern warning to Lawrence Rosenberg, who represented Taylor, when he posited that the surviving victim was the main orchestrator of the murders. 

Baldwin’s attorney, Brandon Mead, told the jury there were no fingerprints and claimed the investigating detective left the case dormant for 8 months without investigating anything. He also claimed there was no evidence to prove the robbery charge based on previous witness testimony. 

“The police really should be ashamed of themselves,” Rosenberg said before telling the jury that the prosecution is relying solely on two unreliable witnesses. 

The prosecutor responded by explaining that one of the witnesses knew details of the case no one could have known, such as the .40 caliber gun used during the murders. She also said prints were “attempted to be recovered, but there were no prints on the [bullet] casings” found at the scene.

“We know Taylor and Baldwin both had weapons and used them,” she concluded. 

“This was a devastating event,” Mead said during his closing statement. “Do not compound that tragedy by sending an innocent person to jail.” 

The defendants are scheduled for another hearing on May 31, 2023.

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