Cumberland County barbershop shooting suspect has separate charges dismissed after jury-witness contact

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) – Charges have been dismissed against Michael Baltimore, the suspect in a fatal barbershop shooting, and a trial was vacated due to contact between a juror and witness in a separate domestic violence case.

According to the Cumberland County District Attorney’s office, after a guilty verdict in Baltimore’s aggravated assault case, the charges were dismissed and the case was vacated due to the improper witness-juror contact.

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The aggravated assault trial, which ended on February 1, included expert testimony on domestic violence. The District Attorney’s office says the expert was approached at a restaurant by a juror who thanked her for the testimony, despite witnesses and jurors not being allowed to have contact.

The witness notified the district attorney’s office and, after reviewing the facts, the district attorney’s office says they “conceded that in the interests of justice, the guilty verdict must be vacated and the charges dismissed with prejudice.”

District Attorney McCormack commented, “The integrity of our judicial system is of paramount importance, and when a prosecutor makes a wrong decision in trial that imperils the defendant’s ability to receive a fair trial, as prosecutors we must do what is right to correct that mistake.  In this case the prosecutor’s mistaken belief that the juror contact did not need to be reported to the court, although said mistake was unintentional and not designed to prejudice the defendant, the result of the mistake did result in the defendant being prejudiced.  We could not in good conscious argue otherwise to the court and therefore we agreed with defense counsel that the verdict should be vacated, and charges dismissed.”

McCormack added, “I informed the victim of this situation.  She is understandably upset by this result.  I know it is of no comfort to her, but we very much respect her courage to come forward and testify under very trying circumstances.”

According to court records, the charges related to the May 2021 shooting death of Kendell Jerome Cook at GQ Barbershop are still pending. A hearing for charges in that case, which include criminal homicide, is scheduled for June 11.

Baltimore, who had also appeared on several episodes of the TLC reality television show “90 Day Fiancé,” was arrested in Florida and extradited to Pennsylvania in 2023 after being on the run.

Baltimore was arrested by police in Broward County, Florida on the morning of Friday, Jan. 13, 2023, after being placed on the U.S. Marshal’s 15 Most Wanted List. Baltimore had worked at the barbershop prior to the fatal shooting.

This is a developing story. Stay with abc27 News as more information becomes available

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