KEON GRAY TRIAL:

Ju­rors to start de­lib­er­a­tions in trial of man ac­cused of killing Tay­lor Hayes

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Juliana Kim

A trial that be­gan with the painful story of 7-year-old Tay­lor Hayes’ death closed Mon­day with a judge telling ju­rors that the lead de­tec­tive gave con­flict­ing an­swers un­der oath, de­fense at­tor­neys ar­gu­ing the whole case is built on lies and the lead pros­e­cu­tor telling ju­rors that no case is flaw­less.

A trial that be­gan with the painful story of a 7-year old’s death closed Mon­day with a judge telling ju­rors that the lead de­tec­tive gave con­flict­ing an­swers un­der oath, de­fense at­tor­neys ar­gu­ing the whole case is built on lies and the lead pros­e­cu­tor telling ju­rors that no case is flaw­less.

Ju­rors must now de­cide whether the man charged with shoot­ing lit­tle Tay­lor Hayes last sum­mer is in­deed the killer, or the victim of botched po­lice work and at­tempts to cover up those mis­takes. Af­ter nearly two dozen wit­nesses and more than a week of tes­ti­mony, the case against Keon Gray has ap­peared close to crum­bling.

The trial was marked by de­lays as prose­cu­tors, a de­fense at­tor­ney and the judge parsed and re­played the tes­ti­mony of Bal­ti­more Po­lice De­tec­tive Kevin Brown away from the jury’s pres­ence.

The group fo­cused on two dif­fer­ent state­ments Brown made un­der oath af­ter the state’s key wit­ness tes­ti­fied force­fully last week that the white Mercedes-Benz she saw at the murder scene is not the same one prose­cu­tors have con­nected to Gray. The wit­ness tes­ti­fied that she even sent text mes­sages and pho­to­graphs of the ex­act make and model of the car she saw to Brown.

But Brown took the wit­ness stand Thurs­day and de­nied re­ceiv­ing any pho­tos, texts or other com­mu­ni­ca­tion from his own wit­ness. That turned out not to be true. Brown went home, found the mes­sages and sent them to the pros­e­cu­tor Thurs­day evening, hours af­ter his tes­ti­mony. Pros­e­cu­tor Charles Blomquist called the tes­ti­mony a mis­taken mem­ory and noth­ing ne­far­i­ous.

Brown also tes­ti­fied that sev­eral wit­nesses said they saw a white S Class Mercedes at the scene. That was cru­cial be­cause Gray’s DNA was found in a white Mercedes that crashed near the murder scene.

But un­der cross-ex­am­i­na­tion from de­fense at­tor­ney Ken Ravenell, Brown said no wit­nesses had ever told him any such thing. In fact, Brown tes­ti­fied that he did not re­call even mak­ing that state­ment in court dur­ing his tes­ti­mony a day ear­lier.

Faced with such a turn­around on cru­cial pieces of ev­i­dence, Bal­ti­more Cir­cuit Court Judge Althea Handy took the un­usual step of lis­ten­ing to au­dio­tape of Brown’s state­ment. The judge con­firmed that Brown had in­deed said one thing un­der di­rect ques­tion­ing and an­other un­der cross ex­am­i­na­tion.

That finding and Brown’s tes­ti­mony about the text mes­sages led Handy to take an­other rare step.

Be­fore lawyers gave their clos­ing ar­gu­ments, Handy read to the ju­rors two pre­pared stip­u­la­tions — state­ments of facts agreed to by pros­e­cu­tion and de­fense at­tor­neys.

The first said that a wit­ness tes­ti­fied to send­ing the text mes­sages and pho­tos to de­tec­tive Brown, that Brown said no pho­tos or mes­sages ex­isted, and that Brown went home, found the texts and pho­tos and for­warded them to prose­cu­tors.

The sec­ond stip­u­la­tion dealt di­rectly with Brown’s con­flict­ing state­ments about the white Mercedes. The judge told the ju­rors that she lis­tened to the tape and Brown had in­deed changed his an­swers when asked whether any wit­nesses had placed a white S Class Mercedes at the scene.

Dur­ing clos­ing ar­gu­ments Ravenell pounced on the tes­ti­mony.

“These are not mis­takes,” Ravenell told ju­rors, call­ing the tes­ti­mony de­lib­er­ate.

Blomquist ac­knowl­edged some hon­est mis­takes.

“Are there mis­steps? Of Course,” Blomquist told ju­rors. “Is that re­ally what this case is about? A few for­got­ten mes­sages?”

The jury will start de­lib­er­a­tions Tues­day morn­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.