Watch CBS News

Family of Timothy Reynolds petitions for change of lead prosecutor in teen squeegee murder case

Family of Timothy Reynolds petitions for change of lead prosecutor in teen squeegee murder case
Family of Timothy Reynolds petitions for change of lead prosecutor in teen squeegee murder case 02:16

BALTIMORE -- The family of Timothy Reynolds, the man who police say was shot and killed during an altercation with squeegee workers last summer, is petitioning for State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby to hand over the case.

The family said in a press conference Wednesday with lawyer Thiru Vignarajah that they launched a petition campaign asking Mosby to reinstate Assistant State's Attorney Rita Wistoff-Ito as the lead prosecutor.

The petition has more than 830 signatures.

Police said Reynolds was shot and killed on July 7 when he got out of his car with a baseball bat during a dispute with squeegee workers at the intersection of Light and Conway streets in downtown Baltimore.

Judge rules teen squeegee worker to be tried as adult in murder case of Timothy Reynolds 02:35

A 15-year-old, who was 14 at the time of the deadly shooting, is facing murder charges.

Vignarajah has criticized Mosby's handling of the case, which includes a plea offer for the teen to be tried in juvenile court with a manslaughter charge.

However, a judge denied that offer and kept the case in the adult system.

Vignarajah said Wistoff-Ito was the lead prosecutor at the start and was replaced during a transfer hearing.

WJZ confirmed that Wistoff-Ito has been removed from the case after allegations that she shared sealed case files with Reynolds' family lawyer.

That family attorney believes the state's attorney's office is being "vindictive" and wants that prosecutor back on the case.

 "We were blindsided," said Becky Reynolds, sister of Timothy Reynolds. "Rita called us on Friday, she was left out of a meeting where the front office discussed what was going to happen. She was ordered to not fight for us."

Warren Brown, who represents the teen accused of murder, told  WJZ the victims and their family has many rights, but there are limitations, including choosing the prosecutor in the case.

"One right they don't have is the right to determine who in the State Attorney's Office is going to prosecute the case," Brown said. "That's solely up to the State's Attorney's Office. I think that they are, it's going to be in vain, at least with regard to this administration."

The family said Wistoff-Ito presented evidence to the grand jury which obtained an indictment for first-degree murder. She also built a relationship with detectives, witnesses and Reynolds' family.

"She's the prosecutor who built relationships and built trust with the detectives, with the witnesses, with the countless individuals that came forward," Vignarajah said. "She is the prosecutor who built a relationship with this family on the eve of a very important transfer hearing to learn that she would be removed for doing her job."

The Baltimore Banner obtains dashcam video of deadly altercation between Timothy Reynolds, squeegee 02:31

Reynolds' family said it feels like State's Attorney Mosby is fighting against them.

"We have had to fight tooth and nail. Had we not stepped up and said anything, this probably would have already gone to juvenile court," Becky Reynolds said. "The prosecutor's office should be fighting for us. To have Rita, who did fight for us and was doing her job, be removed for doing that, is not acceptable. We are continuously being victimized."

Mosby stood by her decision to offer a plea deal that would send the teen to juvenile court.

"Juvenile court exists for a reason, and our decision is based on all the facts and circumstances pertaining to the actions of a 14-year-old minor," she said in a statement. "Much of the factors that we considered in arriving at our recommendation cannot be discussed publicly due to the fact that the case is open and the defendant is a juvenile."

In a dash-cam video obtained by The Baltimore Banner, you can see Reynolds swing his bat in the direction of the squeegee workers moments before he is hit in the head with a rock, then shot.  

"The juvenile system is rooted in the goal of reform, and it is my sincere hope that this young man will turn his life around and forever remember the damage he has done to the Reynolds family," Mosby said. "My thoughts are with them during this incredibly difficult time."

Vignarajah showed reporters still pictures of closed-circuit camera video of the incident. 

One picture showed Reynolds' Volkswagen stopped at a traffic light on Conway Street.

Another image showed the then-14-year-old suspect leaning on Reynolds' car. It is unclear what was said, but afterward, Reynolds turned the corner, parked and walked toward the squeegee workers with a bat, according to the document. 

 At that point, prosecutors wrote that the suspect came back to retrieve a backpack with a gun inside. 

An image shows him putting a ski mask over his face before rejoining other squeegee workers. 

Prosecutors wrote in the filing that as Reynolds was away, one of the squeegee workers started throwing rocks at him. The group then formed a half circle around Reynolds. 

Reynolds swings his bat once over his head.

A squeegee worker then hit Reynolds directly in the head with "a brick or piece of concrete" leaving a "one-and-a-half-inch deep cut."

Prosecutors wrote that Reynolds became disoriented. 

"At that point, the victim is holding the bat up in the air trying to steady himself before he starts to fall," according to prosecutors. "The defendant, who is the furthest away from the victim, can be seen in the video footage shooting the victim as the victim is turning away from the defendant. The defendant is shooting and backing away as the victim is dropping to the ground after the first shot to his head."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.