Jury Acquits Co-Defendants of Derby Manor Drive Homicide

Baltimore Courthouse

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A Baltimore City Circuit Court jury acquitted co-defendants Freedom Brown and Devon Pailin of all murder and weapons charges in connection to the shooting of Tyrell Johnson-Woods  after their defense attorneys asked jurors to discredit testimony from the duo’s two previously convicted co-defendants.

The two-week trial of Brown, 19, and Pailin, 26, concluded on Sept. 15 before Judge Yolanda A. Tanner, with the jury reaching their verdict on Sept. 18.

The co-defendants were both found not guilty of first and second-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to robbery with a dangerous weapon and firearm use in a felony or violent crime. Brown was also found not guilty of possessing a firearm as a minor, while Pailin was found not guilty of illegally possessing a firearm.

Lundyne Oldes, 31, and Brandi Renee Burrows, 27, both of whom faced similar charges, testified at their co-defendants’ trial, recounting their memories of Johnson-Wood’s death on June 18, 2021, on the 3800 block of Derby Manor Drive. Oldes and Burrows agreed to plead guilty to first-degree murder for their involvement earlier this year and are currently scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 6 and Dec. 18, respectively.

Johnson-Woods’ murder was the result of a drug deal turned fatal robbery, the prosecutor said in her closing argument on Friday. According to the prosecutor, Oldes and Burrows acted as accomplices. She said the women talked about robbing the victim prior to the incident and had driven Brown and Pailin to the area before the shooting.

When the four arrived, the women planned to buy drugs from Johnson-Woods, whose girlfriend remained in his car. Moments later Brown and Pailin walked up a hill from a wooded area to the roadway’s guardrail and started shooting, the prosecutor said.

Within 60 seconds, Johnson-Woods was shot eight times with gunshot wounds to his head, chest, shoulder, back and arm. Oldes testified that she had riffled through the victim’s pockets before the shooting.

According to Oldes and Burrows, Pailin was the defendant who shot Johnson-Woods in his head.

Pailin’s defense attorney, Rodney Gray, urged jurors to question the credibility of his client’s convicted co-defendants, exclaiming the only evidence linking Pailin to the murder was the women’s testimony. Gray said Oldes and Burrows are currently facing 20 to 25 years in prison in accordance with their plea agreements, which also required them to testify at Brown and Pailin’s trial.

“Do you really wanna give them credit when we know their motive, we know their deal?” Gray asked. “How many liars make the truth? Two liars came in here and [the prosecutor] said to believe them because there are two of them.”

Burrows was found with a handgun in her possession at the time of her arrest; however, a firearms expert for the prosecution testified the gun was an unlikely match when compared to firearm evidence recovered at the scene. Gray suggested Burrows discarded the murder weapon prior to her arrest, which occurred nearly two weeks after the shooting.

Gray also attempted to discredit testimony from Johnson-Wood’s girlfriend, who the prosecutor said “ducked down as soon as she started hearing gunshots,” but was able to identify Oldes and Burrows via photo arrays in the weeks to follow.

“You either see something or you didn’t,” Gray countered.

Angela Shelton, who represented Brown, echoed Gray’s argument, claiming the prosecution was telling the jury “it’s common and OK to be a liar.” According to a Baltimore Police Department (BPD) detective’s testimony, the police do not rely on a single person’s identification of a suspect, but Shelton said, “that’s exactly what [the prosecution] is doing.”

Neither DNA nor fingerprint evidence was found linking her client to the crime and police did not recover any evidence while executing their search and seizure warrant.

“[The prosecution] wants you to rely on Lundyne Oldes: a drug dealer, armed robber and now admitted murderer,” Shelton said. “…She’s doing anything and everything she can do to get out of this.”

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