Mistrial Declared for Strip Club Homicide

Baltimore Courthouse

Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge John A. Howard declared a mistrial on May 9 for a Baltimore man charged with first-degree murder. 

Jaquan Burks, 28, is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, use of a firearm during a violent crime, possession of a firearm with a felony conviction, and having a handgun on his person. 

Burks allegedly shot and killed Emmanuel Cruz on July 9, 2018, outside of Haven Place, a strip club located on the 400 block of N. Haven Street. 

In an attempt to have jurors reassess their decision, Judge Howard invited the jurors back to the courtroom to offer further jury instructions. However, the jury remained hung. 

During the course of the trial, the prosecution focused on physical evidence from the scene, including a t-shirt with Burks’s DNA on it, along with shell casings, which were fired from the same weapon. 

Witnesses also testified to observing Burks fleeing the scene and were able to identify him via a photo array provided by the Baltimore Police Department. 

While Judge Howard and counsel talked amongst themselves, shouts could be heard from a nearby jury deliberation room. The jury for Burks’s retrial informed Judge Howard that they could not agree on a verdict in the homicide case. 

Burks’s defense attorney Bradley Shepherd argued that the police failed to properly handle the case. Police apparently failed to consider potential witnesses as suspects and failed to collect certain pieces of evidence that were critical to the case. 

In addition, one of the key witnesses during the trial could be seen rummaging through the victim’s pockets in body camera footage. The same witness was also under the influence of cocaine and alcohol during the incident. 

According to Burks’s defense attorney, he is scheduled to appear in reception court on May 11 to set a new trial date.