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Defense points to father of boy hit by car in trial for driver's death

Posted: 7:04 AM, May 13, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-14 00:55:27Z
Deonte Baber court

CINCINNATI — A defense attorney for the man accused of killing a driver who hit a boy with his car in 2017 said it was likely the boy's father who actually killed the driver.

The trial for 27-year-old Deonte Baber began Monday with jurors visiting the scene where prosecutors said Baber killed Jamie Urton on March 24, 2017 after Urton accidentally hit a child while driving on Kenton Street in Walnut Hills.

Baber faces a murder charge in Urton’s death. The boy's father, Jamal Killings, also faces charges of murder and felonious assault. Prosecutors said Monday that Baber executed Urton.

Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Michael Peck described the incident as a living nightmare.

Deonte Baber in court (Pool photo by Phil Didion/Enquirer)

"Jamie Urton was tried, judged and sentenced in seconds," Peck said during opening arguments. "At least five shots were fired at him."

Defense attorney Bernard Mundy said evidence shows Baber wasn't even on Kenton Street when Urton was shot and killed.

Killings was "doing a poor and reckless job of supervising his two kids" before one of them ran out into the street and was hit by Urton's car, Mundy said.

"Killings doesn't know Baber, Baber doesn't know killings," Mundy said. "The two men joined in this indictment are not friends. ... Baber was not on Kenton when Jamal Killings and his friends attacked Jamie Urton."

Killings "flat out lied" to investigators, Mundy said, adding that Killings can be heard admitting to killing Urton in the 911 call.

Peck also noted the 911 call, saying Killings' comment to his son — who was treated at a hospital and survived — about killing Urton initially led investigators to Killings as their main suspect. But as the investigation progressed, Peck said they learned Killings wasn't the shooter.

A coroner's report will show that Killings had gunshot residue on his hands, Mundy said.

Urton was driving between Burbank and Wilkinson Streets at about noon when a 4-year-old boy jumped out from behind two cars, according to Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters.

Deters previously said the collision "was clearly not the driver's fault."

After hitting the child, Urton stopped his car, and Killings, the 27-year-old father of the child, admitted to pulling Urton out of his car and beating him in the street before Baber allegedly shot him.

Richard Williams, who was Urton's passenger at the time and is legally blind, testified Monday that he told Urton to leave, but Urton refused because of the child. He said Killings pulled open the car door and started hitting Urton.

Williams said he tried calling 911 but got a busy signal. He tried to get in between the men and intervene. He saw a gun and ducked behind the car. He heard the gunshots, but didn't see who fired them.

Officials are showing a great amount of concern for civilian witnesses in the case. Their faces cannot be shown, and the judge ruled Monday that witnesses and potential witnesses cannot be in the courtroom unless they are on the stand.

The trial will continue Tuesday.

Killings has a hearing scheduled for next week.