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Trial starts today for man held in city officer's death


A Baltimore man is scheduled to go on trial today on two handgun charges in connection with the fatal shooting of a city police officer last July.

Jermaine Gaines, 31, is accused of being with Charles Bennett when Bennett allegedly shot and killed officer Brian Winder inside G&G; Liquor Store in the 4600 block of Edmondson Ave.

Investigators have said that Bennett, who committed suicide while he was on the run from police last year, was solely to blame for the officer's death. Gaines was not criminally responsible for the killing, prosecutors said in a grand jury indictment in July.

The grand jury indicted Gaines, who had previously been convicted on drug charges, on the felony charge of being a felon in possession of a handgun, as well as a related misdemeanor gun charge.

Handgun violation charges carry a maximum sentence of eight years.

Among findings that led investigators to conclude Gaines should not be charged in the homicide include: eyewitness accounts from inside the store where Winder was shot; ballistic evidence that showed Gaines' gun had not been fired and that Bennett's gun had fired the fatal shots; and the fact that Gaines' identification card was in Winder's hand when the officer was shot, indicating he was cooperating with the officer who had been seeking him after a complaint.

Sun staff contributed to this article.

June 7, 2005, 11:25 AM EDT

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