Judge Orders Transfer for Manslaughter Defendant Held in Hagerstown

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

Donate Now

On Oct. 23, a 24-year-old manslaughter defendant appeared before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Melissa M. Phinn to schedule his retrial and demand transfer from a jail hours away from the trial court.

Terrance Belton is charged with manslaughter and firearm use in a felony violent crime in connection to the 2018 death of 32-year-old Edward Calloway

Though he was previously convicted of manslaughter and firearm use in a felony violent crime and the Appellate Court of Maryland affirmed that conviction, the Supreme Court of Maryland reversed and remanded that decision finding the trial court excluded a prior statement by the decedent that could have potentially supported Belton’s claim of self-defense and the defense of his mother. 

Additionally, the Supreme Court of Maryland found that Belton’s constitutional right to due process was violated by the Appellate Court of Maryland because in the opinion affirming his conviction, a judge compared Belton to Grendel, the legendary monster in old English poem, Beowulf, which Belton argued was racially charged and not impartial.

In reception court, the prosecution offered Belton an aggregated plea of 20 years, suspending all but 10 years. Belton rejected the offer. 

Defense attorney Isabel Lipman also asked Judge Phinn to sign an order transferring Belton from a Maryland Department of Corrections (DOC) facility in Hagerstown to one in Baltimore. When Phinn asked why Belton was being held in Hagerstown to begin with, Lipman argued that although he has been incarcerated for five years now, the DOC arbitrarily decided that Belton’s three-year sentence for having a handgun on his person began recently. The Maryland Judiciary website lists the disposition date for that charge as Sept. 10, 2020.

In August, Judge Kendra Y. Ausby ordered that Belton could be released to home detention, which hasn’t happened because of this apparent sentencing error. Lipman told Judge Phinn she is planning to file a writ of habeas corpus to remedy the misunderstanding with DOC. In the meantime, however, Judge Phinn agreed to order Belton’s transfer to a facility closer to his attorney.

Though the prosecution wanted a two-week continuance, Judge Phinn insisted the parties agree to a trial date today. Belton’s four-day retrial will begin on Feb. 16, 2024, before Judge Yvette M. Bryant.

According to documents from the District Court of Maryland, on Dec. 6, 2018, Baltimore Police Department officers responded to the 300 block of South Monroe Street in response to a shooting. CCTV footage showed Calloway in a physical altercation with Belton’s mother. After that fight, Calloway began walking toward Belton, who shot him.

Notifications are not yet available for this specific case. Please check back later for updates. Thank you.