Opening Statements Mark Northshire Drive Murder Retrial

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Opening statements for a homicide retrial were presented before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Gregory Sampson on March 27. 

Draquan Smith, 22, is accused of shooting and killing 20-year-old Joshua Camara on March 27, 2022, on the 2600 block of Northshire Drive. Smith’s last trial resulted in a mistrial due to a hung jury on Dec. 20, 2023. 

Smith is charged with two counts each of first-degree murder and firearm use in a felony violent crime. 

The prosecution told the jury that video evidence along with witness testimony would convince them beyond reasonable doubt of Smith’s guilt. 

According to the prosecution, Camara met with the two witnesses on the day of the crime because he owed them money. Video evidence will show them allegedly beating and chasing Camara and then leaving. 

According to the prosecutor, Smith, along with three other individuals, then approached the witnesses before they drove off and asked where Camara was. The prosecution said that Smith played a “crucial role” in the death of Camara as he can be seen pointing and directing the three men about where to find Camara, who was hiding in a back alley. 

Smith’s defense attorney Sheridan Yeary countered the prosecution’s opening by informing the jury that they are the “stewards and gatekeepers” to make sure the prosecution can’t take away someone’s liberty without proving their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Yeary explained that Smith was not in the frame of the surveillance footage when the shots that killed Camara rang out. Additionally, there would be no evidence to prove Smith even had a gun that day. Before the witnesses drove off, the surveillance footage showed one of the men dropping a gun on the ground before he got into his car. 

Yeary finished his opening statements by urging the jury to “resist finishing the state’s movie” and to ask themselves the right questions when listening to facts of the case. 

Smith is also represented by Latoya Francis-Williams, who was not present during opening statements due to scheduling conflicts. Smith and Yeary told Judge Sampson they were ready to proceed without her.

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