Bailey convicted of murder in after-prom shooting

DOVER — After nine days of trial spanning three weeks, a jury took about 2 1/2 hours on Tuesday to find a 20-year-old Lincoln man guilty of murder for a shooting outside an after-prom party last year.

Ahmir Bailey was deemed responsible for shooting Jameir Vann-Robinson, 20, of Smyrna, to death on May 13, 2018.
The victim died after being struck by a bullet in the lower back following a verbal altercation on Mitscher Road in Dover early in the morning, according to testimony.

About 20 or so of Mr. Vann-Robinson’s family and friends (many from the Philadelphia area) regularly attended proceedings and arrived just in time to the Kent County Courthouse to hear the seven-woman, five man jury announce its verdict at approximately 4:30 p.m.

Afterward, the victim’s mother Kia Simmons described herself as “Satisfied.
“Justice to our family would allow Jameir to come through our door but we are very happy for the outcome available to us.
“With the death sentence no longer a part of Delaware law this will have to do.”

According to Deputy Attorney General Gregory R. Babowal, who prosecuted the case with DAG Kevin Smith, “The jury spoke for the state and did a good job.

“It was a long, tough trial but we got a verdict that will hopefully give some peace and closure to Jameir Vann-Robinson’s family.”

Said attorney Andre’ Beauregard, co-counsel with attorney Zachary A. George, “The verdict is the verdict but I’m having a difficult time trying to understand why it came back so quickly with that amount of evidence to digest.”

Convicted charges included first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, theft, and third-degree conspiracy.

Bailey was found not guilty of theft, second-degree burglary and three counts of theft of firearm.

Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. ordered a pre-sentence investigation prior to sentencing at a later date. The judge will rule on person prohibited charges against Bailey “within days,” he said.

A brief shouting match erupted as gallery members exited the courtroom, and the disturbance was quickly quelled by courthouse security. One man was ushered out of the room as the verdict was announced.

Evidence presented
While Mr. Babowal referenced 25 witnesses and more than 100 exhibits of evidence presented, Mr. Beauregard maintained that the state “cherry picked” its investigative findings while failing to follow other potential trails to identify the shooter.

The state pointed to a prison phone call when the defendant supposedly referenced holding the 9mm firearm allegedly used to shoot Mr. Vann-Robinson, along with his supposed sale of the gun the next day and 9mm ammunition found in a room he was staying.

According to the defense, Bailey’s girlfriend accused him of “snitching” on co-defendant Eugene Riley (who has a separate ongoing case), who was the alleged shooter. There were 350 more phone calls between the two, said Mr. Beauregard, questioning why they were investigated more.
The incident escalated from an initial verbal confrontation at around 2 a.m., according to testimony. Attendees gathered after Dover High’s prom, witnesses said.

Accounts by Bailey’s shifted possibly seven times (depending on how they were counted, Mr. Smith said) during investigation, attorneys said.

The defense referenced Mr. Vann-Robinson’s friend’s description of three shooters involved, not the two that the prosecution alluded to and maintained his version changed as well.
The defense claimed that a gunfight ensued between Mr. Vann-Robinson and the defendants and questioned why it took the victim’s friend nearly an hour to transport him from the scene to Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital in Dover. Mr. Beauregard questioned whether the time was spent to perhaps get ride of a gun and evidence.

Mr. Smith described the friend as a scared 17-year-old who made a “terrible” decision when he could have gone to the hospital or immediately contact police. Mr. Babowal questioned why Bailey and Mr. Riley didn’t contact police if they believed they had been shot at.

During interviews with police, the friend was consistent in maintaining that neither he or Mr. Vann-Robinson ever had a gun, according to the prosecution.

At least 10 shots were fired in two barrages, according to the prosecution. Mr. Vann-Robinson The second set indicated an intent to kill, the state maintained.

Bailey told police that he shot a .40 caliber firearm into the air once before it jammed, according to testimony. Mr. Smith pointed to evidence he said showed the firearm was found in a room that Mr. Riley was staying, while 9mm ammunition was located in Bailey’s room in the same Lincoln residence.

Mr. Beauregard questioned why only four witnesses were presented in connection with a party that may have had 100 to 150 attendees. DNA and fingerprint evidence was either inconclusive or not collected he said.

Mr. Smith said a bullet missed Mr. Vann-Robinson’s friend by a foot.
Bailey was arrested on May 14, 2018 and indicted on Nov. 5, 2018.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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