Trial Begins for 19-Year-Old Defendant in 2023 Murder

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On July 9, counsel made opening statements in the trial of a 19-year-old defendant accused of a fatal shooting on Jan. 26, 2023, before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Timothy J. Doory

Parris Harris is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree murder, first-degree assault, reckless endangerment, firearm use in a felony violent crime, possession of a firearm as a minor and having a handgun on his person for an incident on the 3400 block of Spelman Road.

During the opening statements, the prosecution explained that the victim, 27-year-old Desmond Gardner, who was a known drug dealer, was on his way to visit his daughter when he was killed. According to the prosecution, there were three shooters involved in the incident.

Six days after the murder, two Baltimore Police Department detectives found an abandoned car, which led them to Harris, the prosecutor said.

Harris’ suspicious behavior drew the detectives attention, and a search of the car revealed a handgun that had signs of being fired recently, the prosecutor continued.

The prosecution presented a photo showing three masked suspects, alleging that one of them had the same cell phone Harris. Additionally, cell phone records indicated that Harris was in the vicinity of the crime shortly before the incident, although the phone was turned off 15 minutes prior to the crime.

Defense attorney Ronald Harris argued that the prosecution lacked direct evidence linking defendant to the shooting, such as not mentioning DNA from multiple individuals being on the gun.

“They ask you to assume Mr. Harris is guilty,” the defense attorney said, urging the jury to reach a proper verdict — acquitting his client.

Witness testimony was set to begin on Tuesday. 

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