Jury Selected in Trial of Man Accused in Homicide Across From UMD Pharmacy School

Baltimore Courthouse

The jury was selected on Aug. 10 for the defendant in a homicide last year across from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. 

Baltimore resident Clifford Knight is accused of shooting 26-year-old Ronald Lewis on May 14, 2020. 

Knight, 24, faces two counts of first-degree murder. He is also charged with firearm use in a violent crime, having a loaded handgun in his vehicle, possession of a loaded handgun on his person, and felon in possession of a firearm.

The shooting allegedly took place just after midnight on the 100 block of Violet Hill White Way. 

According to ABC Baltimore, police identified Knight as the probable shooter after interviewing multiple witnesses and examining physical evidence at the scene. A warrant was obtained for Knight’s arrest on July 26, 2020, and Knight was arrested the following week. 

Knight received a trial date before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Melissa M. Phinn on July 14.

The defendant has been in jail for more than a year, which “has affected my family drastically,” Knight’s uncle told Baltimore Witness.

Knight’s uncle also said his nephew’s case was one of being “at the wrong place at the wrong time.” He is confident that Knight will be acquitted, yet “fear[s] for his life” should he be released, due to the possibility of retaliation.  

On Tuesday, the prosecution motioned the court to exclude the primary detective in the case from sequestration. Knight’s defense attorney, Robert Cole, argued that granting the motion would allow the detective to hear testimony from other witnesses. Cole said this would open up the potential for the detective to consciously or unconsciously alter his testimony to match that of those witnesses. 

The prosecutor countered that Maryland case law suggests that the lead detective can be excluded and that regardless of what other witnesses say, the detective’s case notes will bind him to certain testimony. Judge Martin P. Welch granted the prosecution’s motion.

After 12 jurors were selected from an 86-person pool, Cole motioned for Judge Welch to modify his ruling, asking that he only sequester the lead detective for opening arguments. Allowing the detective to sit in during the openings, Cole said, would tip the detective off as to what questions the defense would ask him.

Judge Welch said he would look into relevant case law and give his ruling on the morning of Aug. 11.

The trial is expected to conclude on Aug. 13.