So many people filled the courtroom to watch a jury find Brandon Grimes guilty of first-degree murder for killing a city police officer that deputies had to block the doors to prevent an overflow crowd.
Those who waited outside got to see Grimes being led out into the hallway and toward a prison van. He stared straight ahead, dressed in blue jeans and an untucked dress shirt, yellow with black stripes, and shackled.
Around him, observers and police officers, deputies and prosecutors, friends and relatives of Detective Troy Lamont Chesley, hugged and shook hands. Chesley's mother and grandmother sat on a bench and cried. An officer gripped a prosecutor and said simply, "Congratulations."
Kimberly Beasley once dated Chesley and had a son with him. The 13-year-old is still too shook up to come to court. Beasley said she left him at home during the proceedings, and she said she knew in her heart a guilty verdict would come.
"No doubt at all," she said. "No doubt."
Grimes is now convicted of shooting Chesley as the officer, who had just gotten off work, was trying to unlock the front door of his Forest Park apartment in January 2007. Defense attorneys tried to raise doubt by noting some of the DNA evidence was contaminated. But two witnesses put Grimes at the scene and a bullet fired from the officer's gun was found in Grimes' leg. Grimes took the stand in his own defense and was practically laughed at by jurors.
They returned a verdict after deliberating just 90 minutes yesterday and less than two hours today. Grimes still has a gun case pending. And like many other defendants, he has a long criminal history.
As an adult, before Chesley was killed, Grimes was arrested 17 times, mostly in Baltimore. Court records show charges over a 3 1/2 year period included drug possession, stolen auto, destruction of property, burglary, theft, traffic violations, false statement to police, assault and reckless endangerment.