By Shaela Foster
Special to the AFRO
Former squeegee worker, Tavon Scott Jr., 16, was sentenced to 15 years in prison Monday morning following the shooting death of 48-year-old Timothy Reynolds in July 2022.
It was a packed and emotional courtroom as the judge analyzed details surrounding Scott’s age, mental state, and his history, including three citations he received while in juvenile detention, one of which was an act of self defense.
“He will return to the community one day,” said defense attorney J. Wyndal Gordon outside the courthouse. “He will be a much different person. He’s going in as a boy but will come out as a man, but he will be a changed man.”
Public safety was frequently brought up from both sides where secondary defense attorney Warren Brown said he didn’t want Scott to be “discarded” as a way to protect the public, stating Scott was “salvageable.”
The judge stated “no one wants him to be discarded,” but wanted him to be held accountable and get the assistance needed to redirect his life.
According to evidence submitted during trial, Reynolds suffered five gunshot wounds, one to the face, three to the chest, and one to the back. This occurred after Reynolds approached a group of squeegee workers with a bat on July 7, 2022 at the Light and Conway St. intersection.
At the time of the incident, Scott was 14-years-old, one day shy of turning 15. He was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, use of a firearm in a violent crime and possession of a firearm as a minor. He was facing up to 35 years.
“The family is appreciative of the fact that a sentence twice as high as the top of the guidelines was imposed here,” said the Reynolds family spokesperson, Thiru Vignarajah outside the courthouse as the family stood behind him with sunglasses and some with their heads down. “But no sentence was ever gonna be enough. No sentence is ever gonna match their grief. No sentence is ever gonna bring their beloved Timothy Reynolds back.”
Inside the courtroom, Rebecca Reynolds, Timothy Reynolds’ sister, spoke about her brother, stating he was an amazing son, brother and uncle who loved the professional sports teams in Baltimore.
“He didn’t just kill my brother, he killed my life with him,” she said as she read from a paper, pausing frequently attempting to hold back tears.
The defense fought to have this case heard in juvenile court, but was denied based on the severity of charges against Scott.
Scott’s grandmother, Tonia McClain spoke with the AFRO regarding the decision made Monday morning.
She said she was happy with the outcome of the case and spoke on Scott’s character stating he was a jokester, a happy kid, loved to dance and loved his family. She said he had bumps in the road, but it didn’t change his character.
“Nobody won in this situation,” she said. “We all lost. It’s nothing to glorify.”
Ivan Bates, Baltimore City’s state’s attorney, expressed how there’s a bigger issue at hand and hoped this sent a message to young people.
“Regardless of what you feel, the foundation piece of the problem was a young person with an illegal handgun,” he said. “For us we have to change that.”
Despite Bates’ hopes of a message being sent, Vignarajah disagrees. He states the maximum sentence would’ve sent the right message to other children letting them know this will not be tolerated in the city.
After the sentencing, the defense stated they’ll be filing an appeal as they aim for modification, potentially reducing the sentence. In addition to 15 years, Scott received five years probation.
Shaela Foster is an AFRO Intern from the University of Maryland, College Park.