A 24-year-old man admitted to killing two men over a span of about 48 hours in downtown Baltimore last year, crimes that came a few days after he and his brother are alleged to have committed a rash of robberies across the city on a Sunday morning.
Isaac Truss pleaded guilty Monday in Baltimore Circuit Court to the shooting deaths of 47-year-old Keith Cooper, found fatally shot in a high-rise building near the Inner Harbor on April 20, 2011, and Edward Jones, a 50-year-old man who was shot during an attempted robbery as he sat on a bench in the 200 block of W. Fayette St.
According to the state's attorney's office, Truss pleaded guilty to both killings and is expected to receive a sentence of life in prison with all but 50 years suspended. Prosecutors pushed for life with all but 60 years suspended, according to spokesman Mark Cheshire.
Truss will be formally sentenced Aug. 21.
The killings punctuated a two-week span in which Truss and his older brother Basil, 30, have been linked by city police to a series of gun-related crimes.
On April 10, 2011, police asked for the public's help in identifying two men who they said were believed to have robbed as many as 10 businesses downtown and in West and East Baltimore over just a few hours. The getaway car, police said, was a green Buick LeSabre, and investigators dubbed them the "Buick LeSabre robbery crew."
Some of the robberies occurred in the vestibules of businesses, including a liquor store and a carryout, while others were street robberies, including stickups of two Baltimore Sun newspaper hawkers, police said at the time.
Ten days later on April 20, according to court records, police were called to the Hanover Square apartments, a low-income high-rise overlooking the Inner Harbor in the first block of West Conway Street, at about 9:20 a.m. and found Cooper suffering from gunshot wounds to his chest.
In Cooper's apartment, police found shoe impressions in blood and two .380-caliber bullet casings. A witness told police he had "heard a loud noise and a person moaning in apartment 1411" around 1:30 a.m.
Police checked surveillance cameras and saw the victim and another man, who was wearing Adidas shoes, enter the building and exit the elevator on the 14th floor. About three minutes later, his companion is seen leaving the building.
Then on April 22, police say, Jones was sitting on a bench at about 3 a.m. when Citiwatch surveillance cameras showed Isaac Truss approaching him. Jones got up to walk away and was shot, the video showed, according to police. Detectives noted that the shooting appeared to be unprovoked.
Police said witnesses identified Isaac Truss as the person who attempted to rob and then shot and killed Jones. He was taken into custody a short time later and admitted to shooting and killing Cooper, and had a .380 caliber handgun in his possession, records show.
He denied shooting Jones, according to documents filed later in court. A ballistics analysis, however, linked his gun to both shootings, according to court papers
In documents filed later in court, prosecutors said Isaac Truss had visited Cooper to sell him drugs. While fleeing the scene, he stepped in the victim's blood, leaving a distinct tread pattern of an Adidas shoe.
It wasn't until January of this year that police charged the Truss brothers in connection with the rash of robberies. That case is expected to go to trial on July 10, records show.
Both Isaac and Basil Truss have prior convictions for robberies, in Baltimore and Baltimore County, records show.
Basil Truss was convicted of a single count of robbery in the city in November 2009 and received four years in prison, but three years and six months were suspended. A 2005 armed robbery charge in the city resulted in a conviction for theft under $100 and 17 days in jail.
Isaac Truss was convicted of robbery in Baltimore County in 2010 and received five years in prison, with all but about a year suspended. He was also charged with burglary and car theft in Baltimore County in 2008, pleading guilty to theft over $500 and receiving two years in jail.