Jurors deadlocked in Keith Davis Jr. trial, mistrial declared

A mistrial was declared Tuesday afternoon in the murder trial of Keith Davis Jr. for the fatal shooting of a Pimlico Race Course security guard in 2015, after jurors failed to reach a verdict.

Jurors deliberated for about two days before telling Chief Judge Alfred Nance that they were hopelessly deadlocked. The charges against Davis remain pending and a new trial date was to be scheduled.

Davis, 25, was shot by police in June 2015, after police pursued him as a robbery suspect into a Northwest Baltimore garage. Davis was charged with attempted robbery and handgun violations, and convicted by a jury of one count of handgun possession.

A week after his conviction, police charged Davis in the killing of Pimlico security guard Kevin Jones, a 22-year-old who was gunned down outside the track on his way to work five hours before Davis was shot by police.

Prosecutors say Davis' fingerprints were found on a gun recovered from the garage where he was shot, and the gun was linked to Jones' killing.

"Today's decision will not stop us in our vigorous pursuit of justice on behalf of Kevin Jones and his loved ones," Melba Saunders, director of communications for Baltimore's State's Attorney, said Tuesday after the mistrial was declared.

The case has taken on increased prominence with the activist group Baltimore Bloc asserting Davis' innocence, and as the owners of Pimlico send messages about moving the Preakness Stakes out of Baltimore due to crime and blight around the race track.

Davis took the stand during the trial, claiming police planted a gun on him because they wrongly shot him. He said he was never involved in a robbery, pointing to testimony at his first trial from the victim, who could not identify Davis as man who tried to hold him up at gunpoint.

Prosecutors said Davis' accusation strains credibility, and that he was caught with an empty gun after firing all of its bullets into Jones. His cell phone also hit off towers in the area near Pimlico around the time of the killing, they say.

An eyewitness who worked at Pimlico could not pick Davis out of a photo lineup and described the shooter as someone in their late 30s or early 40s. Police also said CCTV cameras in the area didn't pick up any evidence of note.

Davis also presented an alibi witness who testified that Davis was at her home with her and her then-boyfriend at the time the murder occurred.

Outside the courthouse, Davis' fiancee Kelly Holsey went on Facebook Live to express her frustration over the case but also her resolve to fight to get Davis freed.

"It is now our turn to put the pressure on to let the state's attorney know it would be wasted time and taxpayer dollars to continue to hold him on something he did not do," she said.

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jfenton@baltsun.com

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