Lack of Jurors Slightly Delay 2018 Murder Trial

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After a seven-month delay, homicide co-defendants Terrance Belton and Rawnes Gibbs will have to wait a little longer before they see a filled jury box for their impending criminal trial. The duo’s nearly three-year-old case was scheduled to begin a jury trial on Sept. 27 but faced a slight delay due to a lack of available jurors.

On Tuesday morning, Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Gregory Sampson called the jury office to request 120 jurors to begin selection. However, Sampson said in open court that the jury office informed him to “call back later” as only 42 jurors were available as of 10:30 a.m.

Sampson informed Belton and Gibbs’ respective defense attorneys, Amy Stone and Bryan Mobley, that his chambers would contact them when they were ready to begin.

Earlier in the proceedings, the prosecution and defense counsel spent roughly an hour hearing from an expert with the Baltimore Police Department’s firearms analysis unit whose testimony Stone motioned to prevent at trial. Stone questioned the results of the expert’s analysis that allegedly linked the murder weapon to the shell casings.

Judge Sampson denied the motion.

Belton and Gibbs, both 23, are charged with the murder of 25-year-old Aaron Long whose body was found lying face down on railroad tracks near Oswego and Towanda avenues around 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 18, 2018, according to charging documents. A CSX mechanic reported to Baltimore City Police that he found Long unresponsive.

Medics arrived minutes later and pronounced Long dead, and his death was ruled a homicide from gunshot wounds to his torso.

Belton was arrested nearly two months later in connection to the death of 32-year-old Edward Calloway on Dec. 6, 2018, for which he was found guilty of manslaughter. Police interviewed Gibbs in January 2019 and placed him under arrest after discrediting his alibi that he was at work in Laurel, which was disproved from tracking his cell phone.

During their investigation, police tracked the location of Gibbs’ cell phone and learned that the day before the fatal shooting, Belton, Gibbs, and a third unidentified man were with Long at the victim’s house shortly after 3 p.m. Long later joined the three men in their vehicle as Gibbs’ cell phone was tracked through West Baltimore, placing them at Belton’s house on the 1600 block of Lorman Court around 7:10 p.m.

Court documents state that the cell phone was then tracked to the 4000 block of Towanda Avenue, where Long’s body was found, around 8:40 p.m. before returning to Lorman Court less than an hour later.

The co-defendants’ trial may last up to five days, according to the judge.

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