A Baltimore man has pleaded guilty in a 2015 drug robbery that led to the killing of an 18-year-old federal witness.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office wrote in a news release that James Dorsey, also known as “Boosey,” 24, pleaded guilty Monday to commercial robbery. In Dorsey’s plea agreement, he admits to shooting and killing Markel Benson in October 2015 after he and a group of friends robbed Benson while he was selling marijuana in the Mondawmin neighborhood.
According to Dorsey’s plea agreement, Dorsey and a group of friends took Benson’s drugs, cash and phones at gunpoint while he was selling marijuana outside the Pak Man Fried Chicken restaurant at West North Avenue and North Benalou Street.
Two co-defendants — Deonta Douglas, 24, of Baltimore and Ameer Baker, 25, of Baltimore — pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy to commit robbery for their involvement.
In addition, Keyon Hawkins, 25, of Baltimore pleaded guilty to robbery in October 2017, writing in his plea agreement that he was the one who robbed Benson at gunpoint while he and Benson were inside the restaurant.
After the robbery, Benson met with a friend, named "K" in court records, to get a gun from a nearby residence and pursued the group, the plea agreement reads.
Later that evening, as “Hawkins started to roll a joint using Benson’s stolen weed,” the group noticed Benson and his friend walking up the street.
Dorsey and Baker ran into an alley where Dorsey fired three shots, fatally striking Benson once, the plea agreement reads. Baker also tried to fire, but his gun jammed, according to the agreement.
Attorneys for Baker, Dorsey, Douglas and Hawkins could not be reached for comment.
While Dorsey and other defendants in the case pleaded guilty to robbing Benson for drugs, court documents show that investigators were worried Benson was killed because he was a federal witness.
According to a motion filed by prosecutors in August, authorities looked into whether Benson was targeted because of his cooperation with federal investigators.
“Immediately following his murder ... federal agents investigated whether Benson’s murder was related to his federal witness status and determined through the investigation .... that it was not,” the motion reads.
According to the motion, had the case gone to trial, the defense might have attempted to present evidence that Benson had been a target of the Black Guerrilla Family.
Prosecutors wrote that a member of the notorious gang, named only as “a certain BGF member (BGF 1) who was prosecuted by this Office and who since pled guilty," had made threats toward Benson.