Courts

Convicted of double murder, Miami man lunges, spits at prosecutor

 

dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

Minutes after a Miami jury convicted Walter Bailey on Tuesday of a vicious double murder, he lunged and spit at one of the prosecutors.

Corrections officers quickly wrestled Bailey to the ground, handcuffed him and dragged him away. Jurors had already exited the court. His target: senior prosecutor Gail Levine, who was unhurt in the attack.

Bailey, 33, now faces the death penalty for the September 2006 murders of Andre Potts and Royston Smith, shot dead inside a Model City duplex during a drug-and-cash robbery.

Miami-Dade jurors deliberated just over two hours. Bailey was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder, occupied burglary with assault while armed and armed robbery.

The penalty phase of his case begins May 13 in front of Circuit Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez.

The same jury will be asked to recommend whether Bailey should be executed, or sent to prison for life. The judge will ultimately mete out the sentence.

Bailey and two other men ransacked the duplex where Smith sold marijuana, then shot and killed the two men, according to prosecutors.

He also shot Smith’s girlfriend, Geneva Nottage, over a dozen times in all. Nottage knew Bailey as a customer who often visited the duplex, Levine told jurors last week during opening statements.

“She heard Andre Potts scream, and felt the heat of the bullets searing through her own body,” said Levine, who tried the case with Meisha Darrough and Heidi Caballero. “Then, an eerie silence.”

When Nottage staggered to the front door, Smith saw her and returned to finish her off with a second volley. But she survived her wounds — and was the key witness at trial.

Defense lawyer Lane Abraham countered that Nottage was mistaken in identifying Bailey. He also pointed to a lack of DNA or fingerprints.

“Not a single piece of scientific evidence, of forensic evidence that the police found, connects Walter Bailey to this crime,” Abraham told jurors.

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