‘Your Honor, This Is the Definition of Senseless Violence,’ States Prosecutor During Murder Sentencing

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On Oct. 4, emotionally charged statements from both the victim’s and defendant’s families were heard by Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Erik S. Atas during a sentencing hearing for murder.

Bernard Davenport, 30, was charged in October 2020 with first-degree murder, firearm use in a felony violent crime, carrying a handgun on his person and firearm possession with a felony conviction. Davenport was accused in connection with the murder of Stephen Allen, 24, on the 800 block of North Franklintown Road.

In a prior hearing, Davenport had accepted a deal with the prosecution, pleading guilty to the first charge of first-degree murder and receiving a sentence of life, suspending all but 30 years. He also pleaded guilty to the second charge, firearm use in a felony violent crime, receiving a sentence between seven to 13 years. 

The prosecution reflected on the pain and suffering the family members of the victim endured since the death of their loved one. The victim’s mother spoke about how their family has been affected by the crime.

“It’s changed our whole family,” she said.

The prosecution wanted life, suspending all but 40 years, with five years of supervised probation to follow for the first charge. For the second charge, they asked for five years without the possibility of parole to run concurrently with the first sentence.

“Your Honor, this is the definition of senseless violence,” the prosecution stated.   

Defense attorney Brandon Mead noted her client’s aptitude for school and dedication to work. Davenport’s family asked Judge Atas for leniency when sentencing her son.

Mead then asked Judge Atas to impose life, suspending all but 20 years, and five years of probation for the first charge and five years with the possibility of parole for the second charge.

“I want to give this case finality,” Judge Atas stated prior to sentencing the defendant.

For the first charge, Judge Atas sentenced Davenport to life, suspending all but 30 years with five years of probation. There were no conditions set for his probation, with the first two years supervised and final three unsupervised. For the second charge, Judge Atas sentenced Davenport to 20 years straight, with five years of parole to run concurrently with the prior sentence. 

However, Judge Atas offered Davenport a chance to have his sentence modified if he did not engage in violence while he is in prison.

According to documents from the District Court of Maryland, on Oct 1, 2020, Baltimore City Police officers arrived at the 800 block of North Franklintown Road in response to a call about a serious shooting. Upon arrival, officers found Allen shot in the face, lying on the rear side of The Historic Rehoboth Church of God. He was later transported to the hospital where he died as a result of his injuries. After his death a witness came forward who was familiar was Davenport, and identified him as a suspect. Davenport was later arrested and charged with Allen’s murder.

Davenport is set to begin his sentence on Nov. 17, 2023.  

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