Deonte Baber trial: Jury considers whether man killed driver who hit boy

Posted at 4:31 PM, May 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-17 17:26:46-04

CINCINNATI — Did Deonte Baber shoot and kill Jamie Urton? It's now up to a jury to answer that question.

Prosecutors and the defense made their closing arguments in Baber's trial Friday. Baber is charged with murder in the death of Urton, who police said was beaten, pulled from a car and shot dead after he accidentally hit a 4-year-old boy with his car on Kenton Street in Walnut Hills on March 24, 2017. The boy survived.

The defense played five 911 calls in an effort to show Baber was not the one who killed Urton. One of the callers said the shooter was wearing a white hoodie and looked "18, 20 maybe." Baber is now 27, and video of the shooting shows someone wearing an orange and blue shirt.

Baber didn't testify in the trial. His ex-girlfriend testified Friday, saying she never saw him wearing an orange and blue shirt like that. She said he was wearing a T-shirt, acid wash jeans and Nike Air Force 1 shoes on the day Urton was killed.

The ex-girlfriend, who a judge has ordered not be named in reporting on the trial, said she remembered what Baber was wearing "because when we picked him up on Oak Street, he didn't have his shirt on and it was a bunch of girls outside and I cursed him out."

However, a neighbor and the father of the boy hit by Urton's car both picked Baber out of police photo lineups as the shooter. A Facebook photo from the day of Urton's killing showed him wearing a blue and orange shirt.

Baber's ex-girlfriend said they had spent every day together until a few days after Urton's death, when Baber stopped calling her, turned off his phone and basically disappeared until he was arrested in Covington three months later.

Jamal Killings, the father of the boy hit by Urton's car, is also facing charges in his death. Baber's defense wants to the jury to consider whether Killings could be the killer. His case is expected to be resolved after Baber's trial.

"I am not here to absolve Jamal Killings," defense attorney Arica Underwood said. "He beat Jamie Urton instead of going to his son, and then stepped back as another man murdered him and did nothing about it."

Prosecutor Mike Peck emphasized that Killings wasn't the shooter.

"Jamie Urton is dead partly because of what Jamal Killings did, but Jamal Killings didn't fire that weapon," he said.

The jury was dismissed for the weekend. Deliberations will continue Monday.