Man convicted of killing Marine at family cookout 2 years ago in city

Victim tried to disarm assailant, prosecutors say

May 31, 2011|By Peter Hermann, The Baltimore Sun

A 20-year-old man is scheduled to be sentenced to prison next month after being convicted last week of killing a man who was attending a cookout two years ago in Northeast Baltimore, according to the city's state's attorney's office.

Jordan Jennings was found guilty Friday of first-degree murder and gun charges by a Baltimore Circuit Court jury whose members heard 12 days of testimony. Prosecutors said he robbed two people who had stepped outside the party to use their cellphones on a porch.

Jennings faces three additional cases, including another murder charge, in what police attributed to a one-man crime wave in Northeast Baltimore in the spring of 2009. A decision on how to proceed with the suspect's pending cases will be made at sentencing, prosecutors said.

In the case that was just tried, authorities said that in April 2009, Jennings, armed with a gun, approached Kenneth Johnson and his friend, Darrell Roberson, who were on the front porch of a home in the 5100 block of Hillburn Ave.

Johnson was at a cookout at the house of his fiancée and their 4-year-old child. Other party guests were just inside a door off the front porch. Prosecutors said Johnson, who had been in the Marine Corps, "tried to disarm the assailant but was shot and killed in the process." Johnson had no prior criminal record.

During the trial, prosecutors said they linked the gun used in the shooting of Johnson to another killing, an attempted murder and a robbery. The other slaying, according to police, occurred May 8, 2009, when he allegedly killed a man who had shot at him a day earlier in Better Waverly.

Jennings is scheduled to be sentenced in the Johnson slaying on July 15. He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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