Mistrial declared for man accused of shooting Baltimore officer

Mistrial declared in trial of man accused of shooting Baltimore Police officer

A Baltimore circuit judge declared a mistrial Friday in the case of a man accused of shooting an off-duty Baltimore police officer after ruling that police had failed to turn over evidence to the defense.

Gregg Thomas is charged with attempted first-degree murder in the shooting of Sgt. Keith Mcneill in East Baltimore in March 2014. Judge John Addison Howard ruled that the failure to turn over material was a discovery violation and ended the trial.

Thomas' defense attorney Jason Ott said he believes the new evidence is a "game changer" for the defense, casting more doubt on the ballistics work used to link a gun that prosecutors say was used in the shooting to Thomas.

Thomas remains held without bail, and a new trial date will be set next week.

Prosecutors downplayed the significance of the evidence, which they contend police withheld from them, and said they "remain relentless in our pursuit of justice in this case."

Thomas was trying to find an auto shop that had installed a secret compartment for drugs in his brother's vehicle after police found the stash, prosecutors say, but he went to the wrong shop on Belair Road.

The trial began with opening arguments Tuesday, and Mcneill took the stand that day.

Mcneill testified that he was visiting his friend's auto shop when he saw a masked man pounding on the door. After an exchange in which Mcneill identified himself as a police officer, he said, the man opened fire.

On Thursday, a city police ballistics expert took the stand, and the officer brought with him materials that had not been disclosed to the defense.

Ott, who planned to question the ballistics evidence, said it was more than 30 pages that he should have received. But the Baltimore state's attorney's office contends only two pages contain "forensic value."

"There were two photos that were never disclosed by the Police Department," said Tammy Brown, a spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office.

jfenton@baltsun.com

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