Man goes on trial 4 times for the same fatal shooting after charges were dropped

In a controversial case that repeatedly raised questions about police and prosecutorial conduct, Baltimore’s new top prosecutor dropped all charges Friday against a Black man who was tried four times for the same killing.

The shooting of Pimlico Race Course security guard Kevin Jones was attributed to Keith Davis Jr. in 2015. The incident took place after police claimed his gun matched casings found at the scene.

Several shots were fired at Davis before he was arrested, leaving him severely injured. Since then, he has survived his injuries maintained his innocence.

Ivan Bates, the newly elected Baltimore State’s Attorney, announced the dismissal of charges on Friday.

The case was repeatedly brought to trial by Bates’ predecessor, Marilyn Mosby. A federal perjury charge led to Mosby’s defeat in a Democratic primary last year.

According to her, Bates is using Davis’ case for political gain, and she is skeptical police will ever identify another suspect now that Davis is free.

After the death of Freddie Gray in 2015, Davis was the first person shot by Baltimore police following protests and civil unrest in Maryland’s largest city.

Attorneys who represented Keith Davis throughout the case said the court’s decision Friday restores confidence in Baltimore’s justice system.

However, not all involved in the case agree with this sentiment. Natasha Dartigue, the Maryland Public Defender, said Mosby’s handling of the case went “counter to any concept of justice.”

A jury found Davis, 31, guilty of second-degree murder in 2019, an outcome that was later reversed on appeal in 2021. In two previous trials, the case ended in a mistrial. In a third trial, a conviction for second-degree murder was also overturned.

Davis was awaiting a potential fifth trial when he was released Friday.

The 2015 shooting of Kevin Jones has had such a complex trial due to a complex array of details surrounding the case.

Several hours after the shooting, a Baltimore police officer was approached by a cab driver who reported being robbed at gunpoint. Davis was identified as the suspect, chased through the streets, and cornered in a mechanic’s garage. Davis was struck three times, including once in the face, out of at least 33 rounds fired by police.

According to authorities, Davis had placed a gun on top of the refrigerator he was hiding behind in the garage. In spite of this, Davis claims the firearm was planted on him after the police shooting.

Davis was initially on trial for armed robbery in 2016. Except for the illegal possession of a handgun, the jury found him not guilty. Ballistics testing led prosecutors to charge him with murder in the Pimlico shooting only a week later.

Bates did not declare Davis innocent in his announcement Friday. In light of his comments about the case on the campaign trail, Bates requested that a formal review would be conducted by one of his deputies.