Homicide Detective’s Death May Linger over Court Cases
BALTIMORE (WBFF)-- When Baltimore Police Detective Sean Suiter died last November, his name was on five active murder cases.
One of those cases has gone to trial, and an attorney says Suiter’s absence from the witness stand affected the jury’s verdict.
Dontia Akins was murdered outside a Royal Farms at the Monroe St. and Washington Blvd. intersection in January 2017.
Ten days after Akins’ death, police arrested Dallas Evans. Homicide Detective Sean Suiter led the investigation.
Before Evans had his day in court, Suiter was found dead in Harlem Park.
Evans’ attorney, Margaret Mead, says Evans was innocent of the murder, but Suiter’s death weakened the case for prosecutors.
“There were gaps in the investigation, and if Detective Suiter had been with us, he could have filled in those gaps,” Mead said.
After a five day trial, jurors took less than an hour to declare Dallas Evans not guilty for Akins’ murder.
The State’s Attorney’s Office emailed this statement to Operation: Crime and Justice:
“The unfortunate death of Detective Suiter did not have any bearing on the investigative process for the Dallas Evans case. At this time, we don’t anticipate any future impact to our ability to prosecute Detective Suiter’s outstanding investigations.”
Police also emailed a statement:
”All of Detective Suiter’s cases were transferred to other detectives. During investigations, there are several detectives assigned to cases. We are committed to moving forward in cases involving Detective Suiter. And certainly, not the fairest comparison, but many cases go forward after a detective leaves the force and he/she isn’t able to make it back for court.”
Neither police or prosecutors explained why they thought Dallas Evans was found not guilty.