Gang member convicted of murder in death of bartender Sebastian Dvorak in Canton

Gang member convicted of murder in death of bartender Sebastian Dvorak in Canton
·4 min read

A Baltimore County jury convicted a gang member late Monday of felony murder in the killing of popular bartender Sebastian Dvorak four years ago in Canton.

Jurors deliberated Friday afternoon and Monday before finding Malik Mungo, 21, of Northeast Baltimore, guilty of the murder as well as robbery and gang charges. The jurors acquitted him of armed robbery and gun charges.

Mungo faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Nancy Purpura is scheduled to sentence him Dec. 10.

His convictions come after a previous jury deadlocked over a verdict in 2019, causing a judge to declare a mistrial.

“We are grateful that justice was served and for the efforts of the state and law enforcement; this has been a long time coming,” wrote the parents of Sebastian Dvorak, Lisa Richard and David Dvorak. “This for us is bittersweet. We do not get Sebastian back and the ripples of impact from that night on so many is significant.”

Mungo’s defense attorney, Mark Van Bavel, said his client will appeal.

Under Maryland’s felony murder rule, everyone involved in a felony crime that results in a killing can be held responsible for the murder.

Dvorak was a popular bartender at Ryleigh’s Oyster locations. Known as “Sebass,” he graduated from Calvert Hall College High School in 2009 before attending Salisbury University and the University of Baltimore. In June 2017, after celebrating his 27th birthday in Canton, he was walking back on Boston Street when he was robbed and shot in his chest near the landmark Can Co. building.

His killing launched police and federal agents on a yearlong investigation — wiretaps, undercover drug buys — that brought down an East Baltimore street gang led by the Bloods. The gang sold drugs including heroin, cocaine, marijuana, fentanyl and ecstasy, and based its operations in the 500 block of N. Rose St. in McElderry Park, just east of Johns Hopkins Hospital and north of Patterson Park.

The Maryland Attorney General’s Office indicted 13 people on gang conspiracy charges. Mungo’s conviction closes the three-year case against the violent gang known as “500.” The other 12 gang members were convicted at trial or pleaded guilty. Prosecutors said one of the gang leaders provided Mungo with the murder weapon.

Mungo was tried the first time over three weeks in June 2019. He admitted to smoking pot and wandering Canton looking for unlocked cars to steal, then to ditching the murder weapon and later to lying to detectives. But Mungo insisted he didn’t pull the trigger, saying a casual acquaintance did it. The jury deliberated six days but could not agree on the eight most serious charges — including murder, robbery, gang participation.

He was convicted of illegally possessing a gun and dealing ecstasy at that time. Jurors also heard evidence that Mungo possessed Dvorak’s cell phone and Nintendo Switch after the robbery and shooting.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said he hopes Monday’s conviction brings solace to Dvorak’s family. He also thanked the prosecutors, Assistant Attorneys General Jared Albert and Erin Wrenn.

“I’m really grateful to them and their hard work,” Frosh said. “This was an important victory for public safety.”

Some gang members lived in the county and kept drugs there, prosecutors said. Maryland’s gang statute allows prosecutors to charge all crimes committed by a gang in the jurisdiction of any one crime, so the attorney general’s office chose to prosecute Mungo in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

After Dvorak’s death, his family and friends formed the nonprofit Sebass Foundation — referencing the bartender’s nickname — to provide Baltimore youth with new experiences such as camp in Maine and snowboarding lessons. Dvorak’s parents have said they want to help Baltimore youth see a promising future and stay away from guns. A fundraiser online collected more than $27,000 in donations.

Meanwhile, Thomas Sobocinski, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore office, issued a statement saying the conviction of all the gang members should send a warning to the streets of Baltimore.

“While this conviction cannot undo the damage that was done by Malik Mungo and the other 12 convicted defendants,” he said, “today we are sending a clear message that we will continue to pursue the most violent and persistent offenders and hold them accountable for their blatant disregard for human life and safe communities.”

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