Driver accused in 12-year-old's killing denied bail

A Baltimore man charged in the killing of a 12-year-old girl was denied bail during a review hearing Monday morning.

Bail had initially been set at $1 million following the arrest late Thursday of Kevin Simpson, 20. A judge decided Monday he should not be released before trial under any circumstances.

Early May 26, Baltimore police said a white Ford Fusion was stolen during a robbery in which 15-year-old Oscar Torres was fatally shot and his friend, an unidentified 27-year-old man, was left in critical condition.

The next day, police said, Simpson was driving the vehicle when he struck and killed sixth-grader Shanizya Taft. Police are still investigating whether Simpson was involved in the robbery. He has not been charged in that incident.

A public defender who accompanied Simpson did not speak at the hearing.

Simpson was released from prison on April 8 after serving seven months of a 13-month sentence, said Mark Cheshire, a spokesman for the Baltimore City State's Attorney.

In December 2012, he was convicted of a drug charge and received a suspended 18-month sentence. Simpson violated his probation in September 2013 when convicted of a car theft, which resulted in the 13-month sentence from the prior charge.

The car theft earned him a suspended one-year sentence, Cheshire said. If convicted in the pending manslaughter case, Simpson will also face the imposition of that suspended sentence.

Simpson had also faced multiple other drug-related charges and another car theft charge, but Cheshire said they were dropped due to insufficient evidence to move forward with the cases.

Baltimore Sun reporters Justin George and Justin Fenton contributed to this article.

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