BALTIMORE — A city judge on Friday handed down the maximum sentence of 65 years in prison for the 19-year-old man convicted of fatally shooting the husband of a Baltimore Police captain.
After two hours of deliberation, a jury in February found Sahiou Kargbo guilty of second-degree murder in the killing of James Blue III, a 43-year-old Amtrak conductor and father of three who was married to Baltimore Police Capt. Lekeshia Blue.
Kargbo, who was barely 18 at the time of the shooting, faces approximately 65 years in prison for murder and firearms offenses.
He is already serving a total of 10 years in prison for an unrelated armed robbery in Baltimore County and a nonfatal shooting in the city, both of which happened in the weeks leading up the fatal shooting on Jan. 25, 2022.
Kargbo gunned down Blue around 2:40 p.m. that day, while Blue was speaking to his son on the phone and waiting for a refrigerator to be delivered to a house he and his wife were renovating in the Idlewood neighborhood of North Baltimore.
The teen unloaded a volley of 14 rounds toward Blue. Ten of those bullets tore into Blue, injuring his head, neck and spine.
Kargbo’s defense attorney began the trial by admitting that the teen shot and killed Blue but arguing his client acted in self defense.
Public defender Todd Oppenheim also hired a neuropsychologist, who performed several tests on Kargbo. The doctor testified at trial about the teen’s low IQ and “executive function,” saying the latter was “very important in how we navigate the world and respond to things,” including perceived threats.
“It’s tragic. But it’s justified,” Oppenheim said in closing.
Kargbo also took the witness stand to testify in his own defense.
A verbal altercation between him and Blue escalated, Kargbo said, and he feared for his safety before impulsively opening fire. He claimed he only pressed the trigger of the semi-automatic handgun once or twice.
Assistant State’s Attorney Tonya LaPolla grilled the teen about his account of the shooting, his possession of firearms and ability to navigate the streets of Baltimore without issue.
“There’s no way what the defendant tried to sell you actually happened,” LaPolla told jurors.
The trial became especially tense when Blue, a 25-year city police veteran who was a lieutenant when her husband was shot dead, testified about the killing.
Oppenheim had told the jury in opening that the police department’s investigation was flawed because detectives were investigating the killing of one of their colleagues’ loved ones. But Blue testified that all of her relatives in the police department recused themselves from the probe.