P. Kenneth Burns

Reporter

Kenneth Burns is WYPR's Metro Reporter; covering issues that affect Baltimore City, Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties.

Prior to joining WYPR, Kenneth worked at WBAL Radio and WNAV in Annapolis.

The Prince George's County native has been a journalist since high school. He was a teen editor with Children's Express, later becoming news editor with Young D.C., a newspaper written by high school students. He started his professional career during his first year in college at WTOP in Washington, D.C. Other career stops includes the Radio America Network and Salem Communications as a producer. He also was a news contributor to WGMD in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Kenneth, who lives in Baltimore, earned his associate's degree from Anne Arundel Community College and his bachelor's degree in political science from Towson University. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Online News Association.

You can keep up with his "notebook" at kennethburns.tumblr.com and follow him on twitter @PKBNews.

P. Kenneth Burns

The defense rested its case Tuesday in the trial of Lt. Brian Rice; the highest ranking officer among six charged in last year’s death of Freddie Gray.

Lawyers for Rice called four witnesses, including two medical experts that testified in the morning.

Baltimore Police

The dismissal of the second degree assault charge against Lt. Brian Rice is just another setback for prosecutors in the Freddie Gray case who have yet to secure a conviction through three trials.

Officer William Porter’s trial ended in a hung jury last December.  He is to be re-tried in September.  Officers Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson were acquitted by Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams in May and June, respectively.

And prosecutors have been having a hard time proving Rice bears any responsibility for Gray’s April 2015 death from a severe spinal injury.  

In addition to Circuit Judge Barry Williams' dismissal of the assault charge, prosecutors dropped one count of misconduct in office stemming frmo Gray's initial detainment.

The remaining charges against Rice are involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and another misconduct in office count.

P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams dismissed Monday the charge of second degree assault against Lt. Brian Rice.  He did so after the state rested its case.

Williams said while prosecutors have shown that Rice did not put Freddie Gray in a seatbelt, he was “not satisfied” that the state had shown evidence that Rice committed assault.

P. Kenneth Burns

Prosecutors argued Thursday that Lt. Brian Rice, as shift commander, had ultimate responsibility for keeping Freddie Gray safe in the back of a police van the day of his arrest, but that he failed to do so by not securing Gray with a seatbelt.

Outside of that, much of what Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow told Circuit Judge Barry Williams in his opening statements in Rice’s trial was similar to what he said in the trials of Officers Caesar Goodson and Edward Nero.

Baltimore Police

The trial of Lt. Brian Rice, the highest ranking officer of the six charged in last year’s death of Freddie Gray, is to begin Thursday morning.  And it will be a bench trial.

Rice, who has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, second degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment, waived his right to a jury trial during a hearing before Circuit Judge Barry Williams Tuesday.

P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore’s farewell to local rap artist Tyriece Watson took a New Orleans flavor Friday; a somber funeral in the morning at the Empowerment Temple AME Church in Park Heights and an upbeat community repast in the afternoon at Pennsylvania Avenue and McMechen Street.  But instead of jazz, the music was hip-hop.

Watson, known as Lor Scoota, was shot and killed June 25 as he was leaving a peace rally at Morgan State University.  Police continue to look for a suspect in his murder.

The threat of rain was not going to stop anything.

  Prosecutors will continue to seek a conviction in last year’s death of Freddie Gray when the trial of Lt. Brian Rice begins Tuesday with a motions hearing.

But after three trials, they have yet to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any of the officers tried so far were criminally responsible for Gray’s death.

P. Kenneth Burns

The family and friends of slain local rap artist Tyriece “Lor Scoota” Watson announced Wednesday plans to celebrate his life and artistry over the next three days.

Minister Marvin McKenstry said the circumstances of Scoota’s death have overshadowed his legacy.

P. Kenneth Burns

  Baltimore Police launched Monday two new digital methods for witnesses to send tips for their investigation into the murder of popular local rapper Tyriece Watson, also known as “Lor Scoota.”

Detectives are asking the public to text their tips, pictures, videos, Facebook Live and Periscope links to 443-902-4824. 

The public can also email files to homicidetips@baltimorepolice.org. People who report tips can remain anonymous.

“We’ll take it in Google Drive, we’ll take it in Dropbox; however you have it,” said police spokesman T.J. Smith.

Officer Caesar Goodson was acquitted Thursday of all charges against him in the police custody death of Freddie Gray.

Goodson, who drove the police van that transported Gray, faced the most serious charges in the case: second degree depraved heart murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross negligent manslaughter by vehicle, criminal negligent manslaughter by vehicle, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

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