Man Charged with Murder 10 Years After Victim’s Death Offered Plea

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A 29-year-old Owings Mills man convicted of attempted murder nearly a decade ago was given until the end of June to accept a plea or proceed to trial after the non-fatal shooting victim from the incident died in 2020 as a result from his injuries.

Corey Jennings originally pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of 34-year-old Ryan Watson in October 2012 and is currently serving 25 years in prison. The defendant allegedly shot Watson in the neck on June 14, 2011, on the 2500 block of Boarman Avenue, leaving the victim with several medical complications, including paralysis.

Exactly nine years after the shooting, Watson died from his injuries and medical examiners ruled his death a homicide less than a week later.

On June 6, Jennings and his defense attorney, John Hassett, appeared before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Melissa M. Phinn when the prosecution offered the defendant the same plea he received in 2012, replacing attempted first-degree murder with first-degree murder: life, suspending all but 20 years, with five years probation for first-degree murder, and a concurrent 20 years, the first five years without parole, for firearm use in a felony violent crime.

Jennings would also be required to register as a gun offender and provide the State’s Attorney’s Office with a taped statement.

Judge Phinn questioned the prosecution’s decision to offer the same plea, noting that the state’s original offer for the attempted murder was life, suspending all but 30 years, with five years probation.

“I think that’s an appropriate sentence,” the judge said. “From what I see, he’s the trigger man. He fired the gun; he shot the gun. If you want to come back [to court], that’s fine, but I’m not going to change my mind.”

Watson’s mother also spoke during Monday’s hearing when she voiced her disapproval of the proposed offer. The defendant’s mother said her son was betrayed by Jennings, who was the victim’s friend, as well as Watson’s counsin, who allegedly gave Jennings the handgun.

“He suffered so bad,” Watson’s mother told the court. “I had to take care of him in his last days in hospice and his question was, ‘Ma, why did they do this to me?’ and I told him, ‘I don’t have an answer to that, but God is going to give you justice.’ It hurt for me to have to stand there and watch him take his last breath and bleed out.”

Judge Phinn accepted Hassett’s request to postpone the case to June 30 to allow him time to discuss the revised offer with Jennings.

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