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Porter First Up In Freddie Gray Trials

Baltimore Police

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams has scheduled Officer William Porter to be tried first among the six officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray. That trial is to start Nov.30.

Trials for all of the officers were originally scheduled Oct. 13. But after Williams ordered separate trials earlier this month many believed that date would be postponed.

Porter, who has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment and two other offenses, was the only one of the officers to not attend Tuesday’s scheduling hearing.

The other five officers, whose charges include involuntary manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment, will not be tried until next year.

Officer Caesar Goodson, the van driver who faces the most serious charge of second degree depraved heart murder, is scheduled to go on trial Jan. 6.

Here is a list of the other officers and their scheduled trial dates:
Sgt. Alicia White, Jan. 25
Officer Garrett Miller, Feb. 9
Officer Edward Nero, Feb. 22
Lt. Brian Rice, March 9.

Legal observers said the state’s chances of convicting those five hinge on its case against Porter.

“If they don’t obtain a successful conviction in the Porter matter, it’s going to be very difficult for them to obtain convictions in the following matters,” said defense lawyer J. Wyndol Gordon.

Gordon said that Porter might cooperate with prosecutors, depending on how his case goes.

“If Porter is convicted and the state would have to determine what his sentence would be and if he cooperates,” he explained, “that could assist his sentencing.”

University of Maryland Law Professor Doug Colbert said potential plea deals also could hinge on the outcome of Porter’s trial. They would come “after the first or perhaps second trial.”

Gray died April 19 from a severe spinal cord injury; one week after he was taken into custody.  His death led to two weeks of protests and unrest that culminated in a riot after his funeral April 27.

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby filed charges against the officers on May 1.  They were indicted by a city grand jury three weeks later.