Trial Ends for 2020 Double Murder Codefendants; Jury Finds Them Not Guilty

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On June 2, Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Charles H. Dorsey III heard closing arguments in the case of two codefendants accused of killing 20-year-old Pedro Chesley and 21-year-old Diamond Davis over a petty argument one defendant’s girlfriend had on social media.

“The police could have done a better job investigating,” the assistant state’s attorney conceded in her closing argument, but she emphasized that the testimony of the three witnesses would be enough to convict Charles Baldwin and Mizell Taylor

According to the prosecutor, Taylor’s girlfriend arranged to meet Davis so that they could physically fight over a disagreement that began on social media. Taylor’s friend, Baldwin, came to the same location with his girlfriend. The prosecutor assigned to the case explained that Baldwin and Taylor “took it upon themselves” to turn the fight into an attempted robbery and murder by pulling out guns and telling the victims to “give [us] your bank.” 

“You don’t accidentally shoot a gun 13 times,” the prosecutor said, referring to the five wounds Davis sustained, the six suffered by Chesley and the two wounds received by Taylor’s girlfriend. Taylor’s girlfriend testified that she saw Taylor shoot Davis from about two feet away in the middle of the road on the 700 block of Linnard Street. 

Baldwin’s defense attorney, Brandon Mead, said the prosecution had three witnesses saying three different things. He pointed to the lack of physical evidence linking Baldwin and Taylor to the scene — no DNA evidence, fingerprints or cell phone records. He suggested that the shooter was possibly in a car that drove by the scene due to the position of the shell casings. 

Mead ended by calling the incident tragic, but told jurors to not “compound that tragedy” by convicting his client.

Lawrence Rosenberg, Taylor’s attorney, said the witnesses in this case were so unreliable that their testimony could not meet the “beyond a reasonable doubt” threshold required of the prosecution. He claimed Taylor’s girlfriend began cooperating with prosecutors to avoid being charged as an accomplice to the murders.

Four days later, the jury returned their verdict. They found both Baldwin, 24, and Taylor, 22, not guilty of first-degree murder for either victim. Baldwin was found guilty of reckless endangerment. Taylor was found guilty of two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony violent crime, first-degree assault, reckless endangerment and having a handgun on his person.

The codefendants are scheduled to reappear before Judge Dorsey for their sentencing hearing on Aug. 4. 

Baldwin and Taylor were charged with two counts each of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, three counts of firearm use in a felony violent crime, along with first-degree assault, reckless endangerment and having handguns on their persons in connection to the Nov. 21, 2020, incident. 

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