A Baltimore County judge declared a mistrial Thursday in the murder case against a city teenager accused of killing bartender Sebastian Dvorak on the street in Canton two years ago.
Malik Mungo, 19, was convicted instead of gun and drug charges. During a three-week trial, the teen from Northeast Baltimore had admitted to smoking pot and wandering Canton looking for unlocked cars to steal, then to ditching the murder weapon and later to lying to detectives.
Mungo insisted he didn’t pull the trigger. The jury deliberated six days but could not agree on the eight most serious charges — murder, robbery, gang participation.
“No verdict,” the jury foreman repeated.
Dvorak’s mother hung her head and cried. His father buried his face in his hands.
Dvorak was a popular bartender at Ryleigh's Oyster locations. Known as “Sebass,” he graduated from Calvert Hall College High School in 2009 before attending Salisbury University and the University of Baltimore. He had been celebrating his 27th birthday in Canton and walking back on Boston Street when he was robbed and shot in his chest near the landmark Can Co. building.
His killing launched police and federal agents on a yearlong investigation — wiretaps, undercover drug buys — that brought down an East Baltimore street gang led by the Bloods. The gang sold drugs including heroin, cocaine, marijuana, fentanyl and ecstasy, and based its operations in the 500 block of N. Rose St. in McElderry Park, just east of Johns Hopkins Hospital and north of Patterson Park.
The Maryland attorney general’s office indicted 13 people on gang conspiracy charges. Eight pleaded guilty and a ninth was convicted at trial. Three others are to be tried in August. Only Mungo was charged with killing Dvorak. Prosecutors say a gang leader provided Mungo with the murder weapon.
Three convicted gang members and a fourth witness testified at trial that Mungo admitted to the shooting.
Dvorak’s mother and father listened to testimony from the first row in the gallery. Mungo’s mother took a seat some days behind her son. The teen wore a baggy gray suit and sneakers. Prosecutors hammered him — he turned 19 during the trial — about events that led to the killing.
“I lied a lot when I was talking to them,” he admitted in court.
In his courtroom testimony, Mungo said he was walking around Canton with an acquaintance he knew only as “Goon.” Mungo said they were smoking marijuana and looking for an unlocked car to steal by tugging door handles. His 17th birthday was five days away, and he wanted to go joyriding. They saw Dvorak walking up Boston Street alone.
“Goon” took off running toward Dvorak with the gun, Mungo testified. He said he shouted after him.
“I was trying to talk him out of robbing him,” Mungo told the court.
He said that “Goon” hit Dvorak in the face — medical examiners found a gash in his forehead — then robbed and shot him. Surveillance cameras captured Mungo and the unidentified man running from the scene. Mungo said he took the gun and ditched it. Police continue to search for “Goon.”
Dvorak’s family and friends formed the nonprofit Sebass Foundation — a reference to the bartender’s nickname — to provide Baltimore youth with new experiences like camp in Maine and snowboarding lessons. Dvorak’s parents say they want to help Baltimore youth see a promising future, so they choose not to take up a gun.
Now two years have passed since Dvorak’s killing, and no one has been held responsible. His father said too many families in Baltimore feel the same anguish.
“My main feeling is utter disappointment,” David Dvorak said. “We can’t build a society of hope and love without justice … not just for my son, for all these kinds of cases. The 300 murders a year need to have justice.”