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Judge grants bail to Baltimore man accused of barroom murder in Fells Point

Phillip Stanley West is charged with shooting to death Rodney Beamon Jr. of Cincinnati in the Blarney Stone Pub on South Broadway.
Phillip Stanley West is charged with shooting to death Rodney Beamon Jr. of Cincinnati in the Blarney Stone Pub on South Broadway.

Baltimore District Judge Michael Studdard granted bail Tuesday to the 48-year-old man charged in a deadly shooting last month in a Fells Point bar.

The alleged murderer, Phillip Stanley West of Rosemont, turned himself in to police Monday afternoon. He is charged with shooting to death Rodney Beamon Jr. of Cincinnati in the Blarney Stone Pub on South Broadway. The trial has not been scheduled.

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West was initially jailed without bail. During a routine bail review hearing Tuesday, Studdard set his bail at $100,000. West posted the bail, and he has been released with an electronic monitoring bracelet to await his trial .

Judges typically deny bail in murder cases.

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West surrendered, and he poses no risk of fleeing, said Kenneth Ravenell, his defense attorney.

Phillip West, 48, of the 3200 block of Westmon Ave. turned himself in to police Monday in connection with the fatal shooting of an Ohio man in a Fells Point bar in December.

Ravenell said the judge made his decision because West owned property in Baltimore, had not been convicted of a crime in 15 years and had no history of violence.

“Taking all of those facts and others into consideration,” Ravenell said, “the judge fashioned what he believes to be appropriate conditions of release.”

Studdard did not return a message seeking comment. He had worked more than two decades as an assistant state’s attorney in Baltimore. He was appointed to the bench by Gov. Larry Hogan in 2016.

City Councilman Zeke Cohen, who represents Fells Point, condemned the judge’s decision in a Facebook post and said he would be writing a letter to the judge. “I want to be clear: this is not about the presumption of innocence. This defendant will have his day in court. This is about public safety,” Cohen wrote.

During a news conference Wednesday to announce drug arrests, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said her prosecutor had asked the judge to keep West locked up until trial.

“We made a recommendation that this individual be held without bail,” she said. “Unfortunately, he wasn’t.”

Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle called West’s release “very unfortunate.” He said the barroom killing was heinous and rattled Fells Point, a neighborhood popular for its nightlife.

The incident happened just after midnight at the Blarney Stone Pub on the 700 block of S. Broadway, while Thursday’s crowds lingered in the bars and restaurants of the Baltimore neighborhood known in part for its colorful nightlife.

“When we see individuals being let out, that goes to whether or not there’s a deterrent to committing crime,” Tuggle said. “We need to have that bail process be a reflection of deterrence in this city.”

Ravenell said he was disappointed to hear the criticism. He called the judge “an independent arbiter of facts.”

“Judge Studdard was very thoughtful in his decision making and I am proud of him, because he had to know that he would face backlash from some people,” the attorney said.

West is charged with murder and gun charges. In charging documents, police wrote of how they used witnesses and security camera footage to charge West as the shooter.

Witnesses saw West and Beamon playing pool Dec. 21 in the Blarney Stone Pub.

Later, the two men walked outside and began shoving each other, police wrote in charging documents. They returned to the pool table, and about five minutes later West pulled out a 9 mm handgun and opened fire, police wrote.

Beamon was shot multiple times; he died at a hospital.

Police say they recovered bullet casings and three glasses from which the men had been drinking.

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