In 2006, Baltimore prosecutors agreed to a plea that would send David Thornton to prison for eight years for a pair of murders. The assistant state's attorney assigned the case said that while it was a light sentence, "maybe he can't kill anyone … while he is in prison."
Eight years later and out of prison, police are accusing Thornton of killing again.
Thornton, now 40, was arrested March 20 and charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of 17-year-old Jowan Henry, who was killed March 8 in the 2600 block of Mura St. in East Baltimore.
Charging documents say homicide detectives interviewed witnesses who said Thornton got into a "heated argument" over money with the teenager. Thornton was seen holding a large kitchen knife, the witnesses said, and when the altercation became physical, Henry was stabbed, police said.
Thornton, who does not have an attorney listed in court records, is being held without bond on the new charges. Relatives of Henry could not be reached for comment.
The then-assistant state's attorney, Samuel Yee, who now works in New York, said at the time that the cases against Thornton in 2006 were rife with challenges. Thornton's then-defense attorney, Richard C.B. Woods, said the cases would never have resulted in verdicts "even if they were tried 100 times."
Had Thornton been convicted of each charge, he could have been sentenced to life plus 84 years in prison.
But defense attorney Richard C.B. Woods and Circuit Court Judge John M. Glynn developed a plea agreement of 10 years without parole. With his sentence backdated to 2004, he was released after serving nine years. In Maryland, inmates can be released early due to good behavior or work credits.
The 2004 murders occurred two weeks apart in East Baltimore. Prosecutors said the cases stemmed from drug turf wars.
Tanash Kimble, 29, was shot in the head Oct. 15 in the 800 block of N. Bond St., and police said at the time that witnesses who picked Thornton out of a photo lineup said he used the street name "Trigger Man" or "Tricky Man."
Then on Oct. 30, Roger Cannon, 35, was shot in the head and throat while standing in the doorway of a liquor store in the 400 block of N. Washington St.
Yee said at the time that one witness had been threatened, and another died. Woods said that he believed the state's attorney's office "did as much as they could with these cases."
Woods said Thursday that he didn't recall the case, but after reviewing the outcome reaffirmed that "these must have been very, very weak cases," calling Yee an "aggressive prosecutor."
"It is always a disappointment when a person comes out of jail on those kinds of charges and almost immediately is accused of another crime of the same nature," Woods said.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun