Baltimore prosecutors dismiss all charges against Keith Davis Jr., who was tried 4 times for murder
BALTIMORE -- Keith Davis Jr., who had been tried four times for the same murder of a security guard at Pimlico race track, is now a free man.
New Baltimore City State's Attorney Ivan Bates dismissed all charges against Davis and said he will not move forward with the fifth trial, which had been scheduled for May.
Bates blamed his predecessor Marilyn Mosby for what he called "missteps" and "pursuing a conviction at all costs."
He told WJZ Friday afternoon, "I had never—never in my entire career—seen the chief state's attorney have a presumption of prosecutorial vindictiveness. That was game over. It was done."
"Today's dismissal is about the prosecutorial missteps of my predecessor in her pursuit of a conviction at all costs," Bates said in a statement "As State's Attorney, I have a duty to ensure justice for all, not just the victim but also the accused."
The case dates to June 2015.
Davis was arrested for the murder of Kevin Jones, a security guard at Pimlico who had been shot eleven times in the racetrack's parking lot.
Davis stood trial four times and was awaiting a fifth trial.
Two trials ended with a hung jury. One ended in a conviction that was later thrown out. He has maintained his innocence in the case.
The most recent case ended in a conviction and 50-year sentence, but a judge granted Davis a new trial.
His wife, Kelly Davis, and social justice groups have held rallies and paid for mobile billboards in efforts to free him.
After the latest overturned conviction, Mosby's office charged him with attempted murder and assault after they said he stabbed a fellow inmate last year.
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On the morning of the murder, police chased Davis into an auto repair shop in Northwest Baltimore as part of an unrelated attempted robbery investigation and fired dozens of rounds, striking him three times, including in the face.
He was found not guilty in the armed robbery, but later police charged him with the murder of Jones.
Circumstantial evidence places Davis in the vicinity at the time of the shooting, but there is no DNA evidence to back him as the killer.
His wife told WJZ in 2021 she knows he didn't pull the trigger. Kelly Davis tweeted a statement Friday celebrating the news, thanking her supporters and Ivan Bates.
"To overwhelming amount of community, near or far, I want to say Thank you for your support and the myriad of ways in which you all showed up and you gave your time, your energy, and your unwavering support," she said. "We could never have done this without you, We believe we could Win and We Did!"
Bates said the case was circumstantial.
"There's no way a jury can sit down and say we feel confident in the outcome of this case," he told WJZ.
Video provided by Davis' attorney showed his wife Kelly overwhelmed with emotion upon learning that he would be released.
Photos showed their reunion following her husband's seven years behind bars.
"This case was really lacking in justice everywhere you turned from every angle," defense attorney Deb Katz Levi told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. "He was very grateful to come home in the arms of family."
Levi said Davis is "looking forward to starting his life again" after a "long-fought battle."
But Jones grandmother is devastated by Bates' decision.
"I was screaming and just yelling, 'No! How could they do this? And then how could they do this with no notice?' And it seems they want to put everything on Marilyn Mosby," Earlene Neals told Hellgren from her home in Pennsylvania.
She said she did not blame Mosby for what happened but is disappointed in Bates.
"We had no warning. My concern is he said he had notified us that this was going to happen. We didn't know anything until my son was down there with him in the courtroom yesterday," Neals said.
Bates stressed he wanted to be respectful of Jones' family and their pain and said he asked the police commissioner to put "fresh eyes" on the murder investigation.
"That was a really hard conversation [with Jones' family]. It was emotional. I think you can be happy, but your heart can break at the same time," Bates said.
Jones' grandmother said police have yet to contact her family.
"I don't think they're going to be interested. I really don't think they're going to do anything sufficient to bring… justice. I don't. Kevin didn't deserve any of this."
Bates said he had no contact with the Davis' family before making his decision and that Mosby did not reach out to him about the case.
"I haven't spoken to my predecessor since she called to congratulate me on my victory," Bates told Hellgren.
As of Friday evening, Mosby had not commented publicly on the decision.
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