Baltimore man tried in court four times for same killing sees all charges dropped

Keith Davis  (AP)
Keith Davis (AP)

A man who stood trial four times for the same killing in Baltimore has had all charges against him dropped.

Keith Davis, 31, was accused of fatally shooting Pimlico Race Course security guard Kevin Jones in 2015, after police claimed his gun matched casings from the shooting scene.

Before arresting Davis, officers shot him multiple times, leaving him badly wounded. He survived and has maintained his innocence ever since.

In a statement on Friday, Baltimore’s State Attorney Ivan J Bates announced that all charges were being dropped.

“Today’s dismissal is about the prosecutorial missteps of my predecessor in her pursuit of a conviction at all costs,” Bates said in a news release. “I have a duty to ensure justice for all, not just the victim but also the accused.”

Bates had pledged on the campaign trail to reconsider the case, which his predecessor Marilyn Mosby repeatedly brought to trial.

Mosby was defeated in a Democratic primary last year while facing federal perjury charges.

Jones’ grandmother, Earlene Neals, said she felt blindsided and heartbroken by the news.

“Our family is destroyed,” she told the Associated Press. “Kevin is getting no justice whatsoever — none.”

She accused Bates of using the case for political gain, saying she’s skeptical police will ever identify another suspect now that Davis is free.

Davis requested privacy on Friday and made no public appearance, though he was photographed smiling widely from inside a vehicle after his release.

He celebrated with supporters, including his wife, Kelly Davis, who led a grassroots movement seeking to clear his name.

“I hope people realise, we have watched a wrongful conviction in real time — and we did not look away,” she told The Associated Press. “Keith survived the bullets because that was not the end of his story. It was meant to be so much bigger.”

She called the case “an indictment of the entire system.”

“Keith is not an anomaly,” Kelly Davis added, saying many other defendants with credible innocence claims remain behind bars. He’s home now, she said, but “we cannot get these years back that were stolen from us.”

Davis, 31, faced his fourth murder trial in 2019, when the jury found him guilty of second-degree murder — an outcome that was later overturned on appeal in 2021. Two previous trials ended in mistrials. A third trial led to a second-degree murder conviction that was also overturned.

At the time of his release Friday, Davis was awaiting a potential fifth trial.

In 2021, after his latest conviction was overturned, prosecutors filed additional charges against Davis, accusing him of attempted murder in a stabbing nearly a year earlier while he was behind bars.

When those charges were filed, a Baltimore judge found a “presumption of vindictiveness” behind the prosecution. The same judge also held Mosby in contempt of court after finding she willfully violated a gag order by commenting about the high-profile case on Instagram.

The attempted murder case also was dismissed Friday.