Baltimore man, 24, acquitted in quintuple shooting; has beaten 10 attempted murder cases

Baltimore man, 24, acquitted in quintuple shooting; has beaten 10 attempted murder cases
  1. Baltimore man, 24, acquitted in quintuple shooting; has beaten 10 attempted murder cases
    A 24-year-old Baltimore man who has beaten five attempted first-degree murder charges was acquitted of five more counts Friday when a jury found him not guilty of committing a quintuple shooting at a Memorial Day cookout last year. David Warren, who Police Commissioner Kevin Davis last year…
    Maryland (MD)

A 24-year-old Baltimore man who has beaten five attempted first-degree murder charges was acquitted of five more counts Friday when a jury found him not guilty of committing a quintuple shooting at a Memorial Day cookout last year.

David Warren, who Police Commissioner Kevin Davis last year called a "trigger puller ... who should absolutely not be on the streets of Baltimore," was facing 34 counts overall, including five counts of attempted first-degree murder.

Since 2006, when he was 14 years old, Warren has been charged five previous times with attempted first-degree murder. In all of those cases, the charges were dropped before going to trial.

Warren's attorney in the latest case, Stephen Patrick Beatty, said it was unfair to hold the past cases against his client. He noted this was Warren's first case to go before a jury.

"What happens is a person gets wrongfully accused, and he ends up on the radar of police, and he stays on the radar even when it's a case they can't make," Beatty said. "Anytime something happens, he's someone who they come looking for."

The state's latest case relied on just one witness, a 61-year-old woman who was handing food to her husband to cook on the grill in front of their Wilson Park home in North Baltimore when she said a vehicle pulled up and a gunman opened fire. The woman testified that she was familiar with Warren and identified him from a photo lineup as the shooter.

Assistant State's Attorney Linda Ramirez told jurors that the witness was brave to testify against Warren and her identification was enough to convict.

"This is Baltimore City in 2017," Ramirez said. "Police tried to find other witnesses, and no one would say anything or could say anything. ... That's how the criminal justice system works: It sometimes has to rely on one single witness."

Beatty countered that the witness' testimony was too shaky and not supported by any other evidence. He said prosecutors presented hours of generic testimony, none of which pointed to Warren as the shooter.

"This is not a how a responsible police force handles a situation where five people are shot," he said. "The citizens of Baltimore deserve better."

Warren will not be released from jail following his acquittal. Federal prosecutors indicted him on gun charges last August, which are pending, according to court records.

Warren has been charged several times in recent years with serious crimes, mostly avoiding serious time.

In 2006 at age 14 he was charged with attempted murder and gun charges, which were dropped. Three years later, attempted first-degree murder and robbery, burglary and assault charges were dropped. In 2010, he was charged a third time with attempted first-degree murder with the same result.

Then in 2012, he was charged with being part of a conspiracy of murder and retaliatory violence by an East Baltimore drug gang. Those charges were also dropped.

Warren pleaded guilty in 2013 to armed robbery from 2011 and received 15 years, with all but five years suspended.

The trend continued in 2015 when he was charged with firearms counts and with conspiracy to distribute drugs related to a raid on the East Baltimore Safe Streets anti-violence program. Those charges were dropped the next year.

When Warren was arrested May 31 for the cookout shooting, police said he was carrying two .40 caliber pistols. He has been indicted in U.S. District Court on those charges, which are pending.

"David Warren is a trigger-puller," Davis, the commissioner, said after Warren's arrest in connection with the cookout shooting.

Davis also claimed Warren as a member of the "10 Grand Club," which he described as "a club of people who consider themselves hit men for hire," and he said Warren was a "person of interest" in homicides and non-fatal shootings.

The case presented in court this week contained no such allegations, however.

Ramirez told jurors that she didn't know a motive for the cookout shooting, or have video or physical evidence that links Warren to the crime. There was no mention of a "10 Grand Club."

"We don't manufacture evidence," Ramirez told jurors. "We follow where it leads us, and in this case ... the trail, while not wide or particularly long" points to Warren, she said.

The state's key witness was Jenice Barksdale. She disappeared from the courthouse just before she was to take the witness stand, causing sheriff's deputies to scour surveillance camera footage…

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