Dover murder trial goes on rare site visit

A tour bus with jury members and a Department of Correction van with the defendant inside make a U Turn on White Oak Road before returning to Mitscher Road during a visit to the crime scene in Dover. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — A murder trial took to the road on Wednesday morning as jurors, attorneys, the judge, court staff and security personnel visited the site where Jameir Vann-Robinson was fatally shot outside an after-prom party in Dover last year.

A seven-vehicle caravan left the Kent County Courthouse on Federal Street at 9:30 a.m. and returned around 10:10 a.m. following a stop at the crime scene on Mitscher Road about 1.5 miles away.

Capitol Police led the way as a chartered bus transported a 14-member jury (nine women, five men) from Water Street onto Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, turned north onto DuPont Highway, east onto Division Street and then north onto Mitscher Road. The journey took a little over 10 minutes each way.

An officer watches over the crime scene were jurors visited on Mitscher Road in Dover. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Joining the procession in a Delaware Department of Correction van was defendant Ahmir Bailey, 20, of Lincoln, who was arrested shortly after the alleged incident in the early morning hours of May 13, 2018.

The rare site visit during a trial was believed to be the first in Delaware since at least 2007, according to attorneys, and the first in memory in Kent County.

The bus stopped at three points along Mitscher Road and were informed of each address by Superior Court Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. Each site was viewed for two minutes each before the bus returned to the front of the courthouse for dropoff.

The points of interest included the residence where the after-prom was held, a telephone pole in the area where gunshots were supposedly discharged and the location where Mr. Vann-Robinson’s vehicle was reportedly parked when he was shot.

The Court took security measures to lessen the safety risk to jurors and better assure limited or no public contact that could affect the trial. No foot or vehicle traffic was seen during the visit, and nobody exited the bus with darkened windows.

Attorneys reportedly did not speak on the bus and jurors were advised by Judge Witham that the scene view was not to be considered as evidence.

The defense team of attorneys Andre’ M. Beauregard and Zachary A. George requested the trip, which was not opposed by Deputy Attorneys General Gregory R. Babowal and Kevin Smith.

Dover Police assisted in the journey, blocking off part of Mitscher Road and providing traffic control via patrol vehicles and the motorcycle unit.

Mr. Vann-Robinson, 20, of Smyrna, was pronounced dead soon after arriving at Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital in Dover after being shot in the lower left back, according to trial testimony.

Charges against Mr. Bailey include first-degree murder and attempted murder, along with multiple counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, shoplifting, conspiracy, burglary, possession of firearm/ammunition by person prohibited and theft.

Mr. Bailey was arrested on May 14, 2018 and indicted on Nov. 5, 2018.

Milford resident Eugene Riley, 18 when arrested, was also charged in the incident and has a separate ongoing case.

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