With jury selection already underway, a Baltimore judge stepped in and postponed the trial of a man and woman accused of murdering well-known bartender Alex Wroblewski in Locust Point.
Baltimore Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn called the prosecutor and defense attorneys upstairs to her courtroom Wednesday and ordered the trial postponed until the last week of March.
Tonya Hayes, 38, of Georgia and her boyfriend, Marquese Winston, 24, of Richmond, Va., are standing trial for Wroblewski’s killing. The trial had been proceeding slowly; after three days, a jury still wasn’t picked.
Assistant State’s Attorney Sheryl Atkins had another trial coming up, and the judge ordered the proceedings postponed.
Police had charged Winston, Hayes, and her son, Tivontre Gatling-Mouzon, with murdering Wroblewski in November 2017. Each was charged with 22 counts including murder, robbery, assault.
On the eve of trial, prosecutors had offered plea bargains to all three. Only Gatling-Mouzon accepted a deal. In exchange for eight years in prison, he promised to testify against his mother and her boyfriend. The 21-year-old will be sentenced after they stand trial.
His mother, Hayes, was offered 15 years in prison, but she rejected the deal. Winston declined an offer of 60 years in prison.
Winston fired the single, deadly shot, Atkins said Friday. She said Gatling-Mouzon stalked Wroblewski and Hayes drove them all away. Atkins described the crime as a family affair.
The killing happened in the early morning of Nov. 14, 2017. Wroblewski, 41, was walking home after tending bar at The Rowhouse Grille on Light Street in Federal Hill. He stopped at Royal Farms on Key Highway around 1:15 a.m. for milk and cookies.
Wroblewski often stopped for a snack. The workers were keeping an eye on him, Atkins said.
“He was clearly inebriated,” she said. “They were concerned for him and watching out for him.”
Hayes’ family pulled up to the Royal Farms. She and Winston walked in while Wroblewski walked out. On the surveillance video, Wroblewski holds the door for the couple.
The family came to Baltimore to pickup Hayes’ daughter. Gatling-Mouzon waited in the car.
While Wroblewski walked away, Winston went back to the car. Atkins said he retrieved a handgun from under the seat. Then, she said, Winston and Gatling-Mouzon pursued Wroblewski.
They put their hoods up as they went, Atkins said. Meanwhile, she said, Hayes came out and followed them in the car.
In the days before, a rash of robberies had struck South Baltimore. A chef at Rowhouse Grille would remember Wroblewski saying he would fight back.
“There’s a struggle between Mr. Wroblewski and Mr. Winston,” Atkins told the court Friday.
Wroblewski was shot once in his stomach. The killers drove away.
Authorities arrested Gatling-Mouzon in Richmond. They arrested Hayes and Winston in Georgia.
Nicknamed “Albo,” Wroblewski was well-known in South Baltimore. Hundreds of people attended his funeral at Our Lady of Good Counsel Roman Catholic Church in Locust Point.