Baltimore’s new top prosecutor dropped charges against a Black man who stood trial four times for the same killing, freeing him from prison and ending a controversial case that raised questions about police and prosecutorial conduct, the Associated Press reports. Keith Davis Jr. 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 has maintained his innocence. Newly elected Baltimore State’s Attorney Ivan Bates, who took office Jan. 3, said Friday that, "Today’s dismissal is about the prosecutorial missteps of my predecessor in her pursuit of a conviction at all costs. 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 while facing federal perjury charges.
Jones’ grandmother, Earlene Neals, said, "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 was the first person shot by Baltimore police after the 2015 death of Freddie Gray, a Black man severely injured in police custody whose case triggered protests and civil unrest. in Maryland’s largest city amid calls for police reform. Davis' wife, Kelly, led a grassroots movement seeking to clear his name. She called the case “an indictment of the entire system.” Davis, 31, faced his fourth murder trial in 2019, when the jury found him guilty of second-degree murder, an outcome that was 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.