Last Codefendant in 2020 Fatal Crash Pleads Guilty

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On Nov. 14, a 35-year-old vehicular manslaughter defendant accepted a guilty plea before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Melissa K. Copeland.

Russell Anthony Edwards, Jr., is charged with a traffic violation, vehicular manslaughter and criminally negligent vehicular manslaughter in connection to the Aug. 10, 2020, death of 30-year-old Keyona Thomas

The prosecutor in the case offered Edwards a plea agreement to serve three years, suspending all but 18 months in prison, with three years of supervised probation upon release for criminally negligent vehicular manslaughter. After speaking about the offer with his attorney, David Shapiro, Edwards accepted the offer.

Before the judge accepted Edwards’ plea, the prosecutor explained that while Edwards had previously been on home detention, he had violated the terms of that home detention and must serve the sentence for this plea in prison.

In the statement of facts recited by the prosecutor, he said Edwards’ codefendant, Brian Scott, drove the car that Thomas was in, which was one of three cars racing on the 5200 block of Wabash Avenue. Investigators were unable to determine how the fatal accident played out, but theorized that one car lost control and caused a “chain reaction,” crashing into the other two cars. That section of Wabash Avenue has a 35 mile per hour speed limit, but investigators were similarly unable to determine the speed of vehicles involved in the accident.

Scott’s car hit a tree and burst into flames, with civilian bystanders pulling Thomas out of the car. A drug screening later found that Scott had both alcohol and cannabinoids in his system at the time of the crash. 

Both Scott and the other defendant in this case, Brandon Gross, have pleaded guilty. Scott pleaded guilty in 2022, agreeing to a five-year prison sentence. Gross pleaded guilty in 2021 to an identical term as Edwards’.

Judge Copeland found Edwards guilty and sentenced him according to the terms of the plea offer. Edwards had 210 days of time served that will be applied toward his 18-month sentence.

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