BALTIMORE — When he was just 17-years-old, Austin Davidson robbed a Northeast Baltimore McDonald’s at gunpoint, and took off with more than $1,100.
Two weeks later, he attempted to rob the same McDonald’s where he used to work.
Davidson had arrest warrants in Baltimore City, Wicomico, Worcester and Somerset counties.
Still, he was out of jail when he was accused of shooting and killing a Wicomico County sheriff’s deputy following a brief pursuit.
Just weeks before his 42nd birthday, deputy Glenn Hilliard, a husband and father of three, died while in the line of duty.
Davidson, now 20, was accused of pulling the trigger and has been charged with first-degree murder.
Wicomico Sheriff Michael Lewis placed blame on the “revolving door” of Maryland’s criminal justice system.
Davidson had previously been convicted in 2019 for an armed robbery at a Baltimore City McDonald's.
He reportedly received probation before judgment.
"Had he still been incarcerated, where he belonged, our deputy would still be with us here today," said Lewis.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby defended the accusations from Lewis, and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.
"Someone like this should not have been out on the streets," Hogan said. "Especially the judges in Baltimore City letting people out, the fact that this guy was out with not serving any jail time for an armed robbery is just unacceptable."
The State’s Attorney’s Office said she requested that Davidson be held in jail without bail and treated like an adult rather than be sent back to the Department of Juvenile Services.
In June 2019, then 17-year-old Davidson robbed a McDonald's on Moravia Road in Northeast Baltimore.
Charging documents say a masked Davidson pointed a gun at a drive-thru worker, and removed the whole cash register drawer with more than $1,100 in it before fleeing.
About two weeks later, Davidson returned to that same McDonald's. The drive-thru worker, who he pointed the gun at during the robbery, happened to be working again that day.
She immediately recognized Davidson as the robber. It turns out, Davidson used to work at that McDonald's and the two had formerly been co-workers.
The woman confronted Davidson about why he would point a gun at her, for which he replied "because I can."
Once it was known that Davidson committed the robbery, other employees at the restaurant grabbed and held him for police.
Officers ended up searching Davidson's foster home at the time, where they found McDonald's receipts from the day of the robbery as well as the mask and gloves he was wearing.
In July of 2020, a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge gave Davidson three-years of supervised probation for the robbery.
Davidson was on the street June 12, 2022 — still on probation from for the robbery – when he shot and killed deputy Hilliard.
Mosby said she recommended to the court that Davidson receive a 10-year suspended sentence with all but 13 months in jail.
“I want to be very clear because there is a lot of misinformation that is intentionally being perpetuated,” Mosby said. "My office asked that this individual be held without bail. My office asked that this 17-year-old be held and not be sent back to the Department of Juvenile Services, but actually remain in the adult system. We’ve requested jail time for this individual.”
Mosby questions the judge and the courts for imposing a probation period, in during that time, the deputy was allegedly shot by Davidson.
“The questions that should be asked is why the court imposed a probation period before judgment, which is not a conviction, how and why he wasn’t picked up when he violated probation, how he was able to be released when he committed a slew of other crimes in other jurisdictions following this incident and why my office is being blamed by the Fraternal Order of Police and other news outlets with political agendas?” Mosby said.
Mosby reiterated that her prosecution team pushed for jail and punishment for Davidson, and that it was the court system that failed.
“This idea and concept that my prosecutors, who work day-in and day-out, are responsible for the death of a sheriff is ridiculous,” Mosby said. “The great question is that this individual, even beyond this incident, was let out numerous times. He committed a slew of other incidents, why, six weeks before my election, am I being blamed for the unfortunate death of this sheriff?”
Hilliard was a 16-year veteran of the sheriff’s department.
Davidson is being held in the Wicomico County Detention Center with no bail on charges of first and second-degree murder.
“That sheriff in Wicomico County, my heart goes out to his family, I send condolences to him and his family,” Mosby said.