Man Chooses Trial Over Lesser Sentence in Accordance With Co-Defendant’s 25-Year Plea

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Attempted homicide defendant Romarise Scott Jr. decided to proceed with a jury trial on May 23, despite his co-defendant’s acceptance of a 25-year plea that allowed Scott to plead guilty to a lesser sentence in agreement with the prosecution.

Scott, who rejected the prosecution’s offer of two years for accessory after the fact, now faces life plus 54 and a half years for attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment, armed robbery, conspiracy, accessory after the fact, theft, and weapons charges. 

During Tuesday’s proceedings, Scott’s co-defendant, 35-year-old Keith Hicks, accepted the prosecution’s plea offer of life, suspending all but 25 years, and five years of supervised probation for attempted first-degree murder; a concurrent 20 years for armed robbery; and a concurrent 20 years, the first-five years without parole, for firearm use in a felony violent crime. He is also required to register as a gun offender and stay away from the victim and Royal Farms gas station where the shooting occurred on July 2, 2022.

Hicks was represented by defense attorneys Robert Cohen and Janet Andersen before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Paul Alpert.

Given Hicks’ plea agreement, the prosecution offered Scott, 34, a plea of five years, suspending all but two years, and four years of supervised probation, which he rejected alongside his defense attorney, James Sweeting III. The prosecutor told the judge she was surprised and informed the court that the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office will pursue all of the charges against Scott, with a possible sentence of life plus 54 and a half years.

The prosecutor agreed to keep the plea on the table until May 24 when counsel is expected to begin jury selection.

Earlier in the proceedings, the victim told Judge Alpert that she continues to suffered from PTSD, having undergone physical and mental trauma, including an infection from the gunshot wound that lasted for four months after her release from the hospital.

“Every day, when I close my eyes, I see Keith pointing that shotgun towards me,” she said. “…I also wonder if Keith’s life was that bad, why did he shoot me? Why didn’t he just shoot himself?”

Hicks apologized to the victim as well as his family in the gallery.

“I made a lot of wrong decisions,” he said. “It was never my intention for anybody to get hurt.”

According to court documents, shortly after 4:00 a.m., Hicks walked into the Royal Farms on the 5800 block of Eastern Avenue where the victim was emptying the self-checkout registers and depositing money in a safe. Video surveillance footage showed Hicks pull out a silver shotgun and the victim throw the money on the floor. As the defendant began putting money in an Adidas backpack, the victim saw money hanging out of the cash register and attempted to grab it when Hicks shot her in her chest and then ran outside.

Hicks ran down an alleyway on the 400 block of Bonsal Street and got into a 2000 Mercury Grand Marquis. Further investigation revealed that the same car was at the gas station less than an hour before the shooting.

Video footage showed another man, 56-year-old Romarise Scott Sr., the defendant’s father, get out of the passenger’s side, go inside the gas station, and buy something. Shortly after, Scott Jr. was seen getting out of the driver’s seat and looking through the car’s trunk. Hicks then went inside the gas station and joined Scott Sr., both of whom left together and drove away with Scott Jr.

On July 5, 2022, along Northern Parkway towards Cylburn Avenue, Baltimore Police pulled the vehicle over and arrested the three men, recovering the shotgun and the Adidas backpack, documents state.

Scott Sr. is facing similar charges to his co-defendants and currently scheduled for court on June 5.

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