ATTLEBORO — Lawyers clashed Thursday during closing arguments over evidence and statements in the two-day trial of a man charged with participating in a drive-by shooting in North Attleboro.
But even before the Attleboro District Court jury was handed the case against Kevin Baldwin, 21, of Norfolk, for deliberation, one of the most serious charges was thrown out.
Judge Daniel O’Shea told the jury they will not have to consider the charge of assault by means of a dangerous weapon. O’Shea found Baldwin innocent of the charge after Baldwin’s lawyer asked for a required finding, meaning the evidence presented for the charge was insufficient for a conviction.
The jury only had about a half-hour to deliberate the case and will return again Friday.
Baldwin, who is accused of supplying the 12-gauge shotgun and driving the getaway vehicle in the June 22 incident, denies being part of any plan to commit any crime or even being present when it occurred.
A couple and their toddler on the first floor of a house at 393 Kelley Blvd. and a man renting a second-floor apartment were home that evening but no one was hurt.
Baldwin’s lawyer, James Reidy of West Roxbury, argued that police conducted a shoddy investigation and raised doubts his client made any statements to police because they were not recorded.
“It was sloppy and without care. It’s the hallmark of what happened here,” Reidy said.
During his closing argument, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Lopes told the jury to take all the evidence into consideration and use their common sense.
Lopes argued Baldwin made statements to police implicating himself and a friend without being told details of the incident.
Police testified Baldwin admitted to having shotgun shells in his house and destroying the shotgun. He threw it in a Rehoboth swamp because he felt guilty and knew it would be evidence, Lopes said.
“He was trying to conceal evidence in this case,” Lopes said. “He knew about the shooting because he was there.”
Police did not record the statement on their cellphones, for safety reasons, Lopes said, because they were serving a felony warrant on Baldwin in a case involving firearms and a shooting.
Lopes said the shooting occurred because Baldwin’s friend, 20-year-old Kenneth Morton of Attleboro, “had a beef” with the man living on the second-floor of the house.
Morton pleaded guilty to assault by means of a dangerous weapon and related offenses earlier and is currently serving a 2 1/2-year jail term.
Baldwin faces charges of malicious destruction, possession of ammunition and carrying a firearm without a license.
The cases against two other co-defendants, Sarah Salvo, 20, of Norton and Christina Drainville, 19, of Providence, are still pending. They were allegedly passengers in Baldwin’s truck.