Baltimore City State’s attorney Ivan Bates to try man charged for murdering cellmate

BALTIMORE — Baltimore’s new top prosecutor, Ivan Bates, will try a man accused of murdering his cellmate at the city’s Central Booking and Intake facility.

Bates announced on Friday that he will personally prosecute a defendant accused of strangling his deaf cellmate while awaiting trial in another murder case last year.

Gordon Staron Jr., 34, of Harford County, is charged with first-degree murder after prosecutors alleged that he killed cellmate Javarick Gantt. Gantt was found dead inside their cell at Central Booking on Oct. 9, 2022, the Baltimore Banner reported.  

Staron was already incarcerated for the fatal stabbing of a man in the 1400 block of East Monument Street at a bus stop. 

Assistant State’s Attorney Tonya LaPolla said the state intends to seek life without the possibility of parole.

Bates will try the case—has raised significant questions about the city’s jail operations and its backlogged court system—alongside veteran city homicide prosecutor Tonya LaPolla.

“The same work she does, I’ll sit right there and do. The same trial preparation, I’ll be right there doing,” Bates said. “To me, it has to start at the top. You have prosecutors going to trial every week on murder cases. We need help.”

Staron had been locked up since September after his arrest in the deadly stabbing of Keith Bell, 63, near a Baltimore bus stop. Jail officials have refused to answer questions about why Staron was housed with Gantt, a disabled man facing relatively minor charges.

“Here, you have a suspect who’s

Read the rest Continue Reading