Trial delayed in killing of city officer

CRIME WAtch

May 30, 2008

The trial for a man charged with killing an off-duty Baltimore police officer last year was postponed yesterday because the prosecutor was busy in another trial.

But the suspect, Brandon Grimes, went to trial yesterday on an unrelated handgun charge before Circuit Judge Wanda K. Heard. The trial is expected to conclude early next week.

A trial on the charges related to the killing of Detective Troy Lamont Chesley Sr. has been rescheduled for Aug. 13. Grimes also faces charges in three other unrelated cases involving a shooting, a carjacking and a handgun.

Grimes is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of Chesley, 34, in what police believe was a robbery attempt. About 1:20 a.m. on Jan. 9, 2007, police say, Grimes approached Chesley as he fumbled for his keys on the front porch of a house in the 4500 block of Fairfax Road and then shot him. Police said Chesley managed to return fire and wound Grimes in the leg.

In the case that began yesterday, Grimes is accused of running from two police officers who had pulled him over on suspicion of speeding near his home in the 800 block of Cator Ave., according to court records. As police chased Grimes into his own backyard, police charging documents say, the 23-year-old tossed a .22-caliber handgun over a six-foot fence into his neighbor's backyard.

melissa harris

Man sentenced for heroin

A 27-year-old Baltimore man was sentenced to 17 1/2 years in prison yesterday for distributing heroin branded "Smackdown" to customers in a five- to eight-block area of West Baltimore from 2005 until the summer of last year, according to the Maryland U.S. attorney's office.

Jerome Gilbert was a street lieutenant responsible for the daily operation of a drug gang that distributed more than 60 pounds of heroin over a two-year period, federal prosecutors said in a statement. Co-conspirator Lennel Matthews, 25, of Baltimore was sentenced to 14 years in prison this month, the prosecutors said.

Gilbert pleaded guilty in February to federal drug charges. Prosecutors said he controlled an area bounded by Baltimore, Gilmor, Arlington and Pratt streets in West Baltimore. The area includes Hollins Market.

Police said they arrested Gilbert after searching a suspected stash house in the 5500 block of Todd Ave. in the Cedonia neighborhood of Northeast Baltimore, where they said they recovered more than 6 pounds of heroin and packaging material.

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