Jury Returns Guilty Verdict in 2-Year-Old Homicide

Baltimore Courthouse

A jury found Ronald Brown guilty on Sept. 14 for the murder of William Scott nearly two years ago.

Through the trial, the defense counsel challenged the thoroughness of the Baltimore City Police department’s investigation.

Defense attorney Brandon T. Taylor said the investigation failed to note that there could have been footprint contamination of the crime scene by officers who arrived on the scene nearly two hours before detectives. Taylor also noted that police had not examined security camera footage near the area of the incident. 

During the course of the trial, the defense argued that the victim’s girlfriend killed Scott, not Brown.

“The person responsible [for Scott’s death] was right in front of the state’s face the whole time and they couldn’t even see it,” Taylor told the jury during closing arguments on Sept. 13.

The victim’s girlfriend didn’t know who killed Scott until she became a person of interest, he said, reiterating that she was abused by the victim three times a week.

“I feel bad for Mr. Scott because the state is trying to convict the wrong guy,” Taylor said. “They are pointing their finger in the wrong direction.”

The prosecution spent their time, reminding the jury that Scott was “viciously stabbed and beaten,” and that Scott’s girlfriend knew who killed him, as the prosecutor directed the jury to Brown who sat nearby in the courtroom. She also said that the argument between the victim and the defendant likely started as a result of Brown taking drugs from Scott’s pockets.

Before closing argument began, the prosecution called an assistant medical examiner to testify as an expert witness before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Lynn Stewart Mays.

The examiner explained the victim’s wounds as they appeared on photos of the victim that were taken before the autopsy, which showed scars, cuts, and bruises as well as stab wounds. 

The examiner said numerous marks were located on the body. He also said the victim had a laceration on the inside of his upper right lip as well as small contusions. 

According to the examiner, the victim’s toxicology test, which tests for drugs and alcohol, showed a blood alcohol of 0.14 percent, and there was also cocaine present in his urine. 

Taylor suggested that the victim was possibly intoxicated during the altercation, which inherently caused it. He then proposed the idea that it was possible for the victim to have been murdered between the hours of 11:40 p.m. to 3:40 a.m. 

Taylor inquired whether the stabbing to Scott’s face could have possibly caused him to bleed out seeing as the artery was cut during the incident. According to the medical examiner, the cutting of the artery can cause a person to rapidly die, but, he also said the stab wounds on the victim caused hemorrhaging. The examiner said that all of the stab wounds on Scott contributed to his death.

Taylor questioned whether it was possible to determine if a man or woman left the bruises on Scott. The examiner said that the injuries caused to the face couldn’t be determined if it was from any specific person. Plus, the way the victim was punched could not determine the gender of the person nor the amount of force used on the victim.  

The lead detective over the case, who testified as an expert witness on Sept. 9, recalled that officers were called to the 500 block of N. Payson Street for a report of an injured person on Dec. 8, 2019. When officers arrived, they found the victim lying inside his bedroom with multiple stab wounds on his body. 

The victim was pronounced dead upon arrival.

An information technology specialist, representing AT&T, provided phone records from a no-name number that called the victim hours before his death.

An FBI agent, who is a part of a cellular analysis service team, said he used the phone tower list to pinpoint where the cell was located during the time it was called. 

The agent’s analysis consisted of reviewing the records and generating a series of maps to show the general location of the cell sites being used by the phone in relation to the crime scene location. 

Taylor asked the agent how he got those specific spots to which the agent said he was using the general area by locating where the target phone was possibly used. He identified the specific tower connected to the phone by reading the call logs and connecting the time to whichever tower was being used at the same exact time.

However, he said, he could not specify which exact phone was used.