The murder trial of five men charged with killing a 1-year-old child during an attempt on his father's life began Monday in Baltimore Circuit Court, following weeks of jury selection.
The May 24, 2013, killing of Carter Scott in Cherry Hill rocked the city at the time, and police quickly made two arrests. Three others would be charged in the ensuing months, and the men are being tried jointly.
Assistant State's Attorney Tonya LaPolla told jurors that Cornell Harvey, 28, set up Carter Scott's father, Rashaw, by tricking him into driving to Cherrydale Apartments complex under the pretense that Harvey needed to visit someone. LaPolla said Rashaw Scott believed that he and Harvey were friends.
LaPolla did not explain the motive for the killing in opening arguments. She did provide chilling details about how it happened.
As Rashaw Scott waited in his vehicle, he saw a group of men wearing latex gloves and armed with handguns running toward the car. LaPolla said he instinctively moved toward his 16-month-old son, who was in a car seat.
"He tried to get the car seat down so his son wouldn't get hit," LaPolla told jurors. Then he decided to get back into the front seat, hoping that would guide the shooters to the front of the vehicle.
At least 16 shots were fired at the vehicle, police have said.
Rashaw Scott was hit multiple times and survived. Carter was hit twice in the legs and bled to death, LaPolla said.
When officers arrived on the scene, Rashaw Scott immediately told police that Harvey had set him up, LaPolla said.
Police officers who were in the area pursued fleeing suspects, and used the department helicopter to track a vehicle for six miles to West Baltimore. Eddie Tarver, 22, was caught there after bailing out of the car.
Also on trial are Reginald Love, 27; Rashid Mayo, 24; and Dequan Shields, 22.
LaPolla said Love and Shields are linked to the crime through DNA found on gloves at the scene and in the getaway car.
Mayo was picked out of a photo lineup by an officer who said he saw Mayo climb into the car before it sped away. Mayo was tracked down and arrested in Louisiana two months after the killing.
The trial is taking place in the ceremonial courtroom of Judge John Addison Howard, with two rows of tables set up for the defendants, their attorneys, and LaPolla, the sole attorney for the state.
Harvey's defense attorney, Joshua Insley, did not give an opening statement.
The other attorneys said that witnesses have given inconsistent statements regarding the number of gunmen observed at the scene, raising questions about the investigation.
"The witnesses say two shooters — three at the most," said attorney Michael Mitchell, who is representing Tarver. "The state will not be able to prove there were four shooters."
They also said the jury shouldn't feel pressure to convict based on the strong emotions stirred by a child losing his life.
Jane McGough, the attorney representing Shields, invoked the 1932 kidnapping of 20-month-old Charles Lindbergh, a case that captured the nation's attention.
"Whenever we have a child [killed], we want to solve it," said McGough, adding that prosecutors pushed the Carter Scott case forward lacking evidence.