Prosecutor Argues BB Gun Shooting Was Homicide; Defense Cites Contradictory Testimony

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Taiwan Mitchell appeared before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Dana M. Middleton on Dec. 4 to hear closing arguments in his jury trial. 

Mitchell, 41, is charged by prosecutors with the first-degree murder of Roy Henry Cantler III, attempted first-degree murder of Cantler’s girlfriend and possessing an air pellet gun in connection to a November 2021 incident. 

According to documents from the District Court of Maryland, Baltimore Police Department officers reported to a call of an apparent overdose on the 2200 block of Christian Street on Nov. 13, 2021. Upon arrival, they observed a pool of blood by the victim’s head and called for backup. Cantler, 36, died two days later of complications from a BB pellet lodged in his brain, causing complications.

As a survivor Cantler’s girlfriend gave a statement and along with the use of surveillance footage nearby led detectives to Mitchell. 

The prosecutor described the incident as a “drug argument over money.” She explained that prior to the incident, Cantler and his girlfriend were living in an abandoned home, and he was working alongside Mitchell selling drugs.

Accordingly, the girlfriend testified that they were not using drugs at the time of the incident, and that she watched Mitchell and Cantler go into another room, where Cantler was shot. 

Mitchell’s attorney, Staci Pipkin, pointed out the inconsistencies in the girlfriend’s testimony. According to Pipkin, at the beginning of the trial, she stated under oath: “I saw the whole thing, he put the gun right up to the guy.” 

A few days later in the course of the trial, the girlfriend said she didn’t see anything. Additionally, Pipkin referenced the testimony of an doctor, who explained when an air pellet gun is used, it burns the skin. In Cantler’s case, this was not apparent. 

On the other hand, the prosecutor emphasized that detectives found canisters of BB pellets in the defendant’s car. She also emphasized the sufficiency in the girlfriend’s testimony in proving Mitchell’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 

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