A Summit County jury returned a split verdict Monday in the murder trial of an Akron man who shot and killed another man last July.

The jury found Kennae Baker not guilty of aggravated murder involving causing a death while committing an aggravated robbery but guilty of aggravated murder that involves a death during an aggravated burglary. The jury acquitted Baker of aggravated burglary.

Baker’s attorneys think the conviction for aggravated murder during a burglary and acquittal for burglary are inconsistent and plan to meet with Baker to discuss whether they should challenge these verdicts.

“Although we have respect for a jury’s decision, for us it doesn’t make sense from a legal standpoint,” said Joe Gorman, who represented Baker with attorney John Greven.

The jury also returned guilty verdicts against Baker for two counts each of murder and felonious assault — under different parts of state law — for the death of D’Andre Pete. Jurors found Baker not guilty of aggravated robbery, theft and a third count of felonious assault related to Pete’s girlfriend who was in the apartment during the shooting.

Baker will be sentenced at 9 a.m. June 27 by Summit County Common Pleas Judge Alison McCarty.

Baker, 20, shot and killed Pete, 24, on July 13 in his apartment in the Spring Hill complex where both men lived. Prosecutors claimed Baker went to Pete’s apartment intending to rob him of money and drugs but ended up shooting him. Baker said he shot Pete in self-defense. He testified that Pete thought Baker had shorted him in a marijuana sale and started to pull a gun out of his pocket to shoot him, so he fired first.

This was the third time in the past month that a defendant claimed self-defense in a murder trial in Summit County, with the other two cases resulting in convictions. A new state law recently kicked in that put the burden on prosecutors to prove deadly force wasn’t warranted.

In Baker’s case, jurors deliberated for about six hours between Friday and Monday before announcing about 12:30 p.m. Monday that they had reached a verdict.

Jurors incorrectly filled out the verdict forms initially and McCarty asked them to return to the jury room to fix the forms. They quickly returned to the courtroom with the corrected forms.

Baker visibly trembled as he awaited the reading of the verdicts.

The courtroom was nearly packed with friends and family members of both Pete and Baker.

 

Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705, swarsmith@thebeaconjournal.com and on Twitter: @swarsmithabj.