BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The trial of a man charged with killing seven-year-old Taylor Hayes last year began Wednesday with witness hearings and opening statements.

Keon Gray is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of Taylor Hayes back in 2018.

So far, the court has heard three of the prosecution’s witnesses, one of the responding police officers, an EMT and a paramedic- all of whom responded to the crime scene.

Both sides- prosecution and defense- laid the groundwork for their case in opening statements.

Inside Baltimore City’s Circuit Courthouse, prosecuting attorneys explained to the jury that this was going to be a complicated case with a lot of witnesses, information and emotion.

On July 5, 2018, seven-year-old Taylor Hayes was sitting in the backseat of her godmother’s car in Southwest Baltimore. That’s when the prosecution alleges that 30-year-old Keon Gray fired a .40 caliber handgun at least twice.

The bullet traveled through the trunk of the Honda Accord, hitting Taylor in her back. She died two weeks later after a courageous fight for her life.

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A break in the case came when witnesses remembered seeing a white Mercedes carrying the defendant away from the scene. The prosecution told the jury that Gray’s DNA was found on the airbag in the car, and that cell phone records placed him in the same area as the shooting.

Gray’s attorneys told jurors the State’s case has a lot of holes. They pointed out that the two adults in the car were Malik Edison and Darnell Holmes, who was Taylor’s godmother.

The defense said when police arrived on the scene, they asked Holmes what happened and where it happened and said that she wouldn’t answer their questions- and flat out lied to police.

Holmes and her boyfriend were eventually arrested on gun and drug charges but cut a deal with prosecutors in exchange for their testimony against Gray.

A Baltimore City police sergeant was first called to the stand, with much of his testimony relying on his body camera footage from the crime scene.

He told the courthouse “he had never encountered anything like it in his 12 years of service,”

“I’ll never see my child again, ever,” said Taylor’s mother, Shanika Robinson.

In the weeks and months following Taylor’s death, her mom offered heartfelt pleas to the community to put an end to the violence that took her little girl’s life.

Robinson was arrested at the courthouse on Tuesday on a bench warrant out of Frederick County before she even entered the courtroom.

Court documents said the warrant was issued July 8 after she violated her probation connected to a theft charge in 2018.

The trial is expected to last about two weeks. In the next two days, the court will hear from witnesses including the Edison and Holmes.

Rachel Menitoff

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