BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Opening statements begin Tuesday in the trial of Garrick Powell, a Baltimore man charged in the murder of Safe Streets advocate Dante Barksdale.

Powell, 29, is being tried on first-degree murder and firearm charges in the January 2021 killing of Barksdale.

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Baltimore police say that the well-known advocate was shot in the head near the Douglass Homes public housing complex in Southeast Baltimore.

Anne Arundel County Detectives say that Powell was arrested during a traffic stop a few weeks after Barksdale was killed.

At the time, they found a gun that prosecutors believe was used to kill Barksdale.

Also, cell phone records show that Powell was near Douglass Homes at the time of the murder.

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Powell, who has a history of arrests in Baltimore City along with Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties, has pleaded not guilty. His family also told WJZ that Powell is innocent.

The trial is expected to be quick, with one attorney speculating Monday that deliberations could begin on Thursday.

Powell was arrested last May after investigators identified him as the suspect based on witness statements and other evidence.

Barksdale, who turned things around after a life of crime, was one of the founding members of Safe Streets, an organization that aims to reduce violent crime in Baltimore City.

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Jessica Albert