Sergeant Partly Acquitted In Shooting

December 09, 1990|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff writer

A Maryland National Guard sergeant was found not guilty Wednesday of two counts of assault with intent to murder.

However, Rodney A. Hathaway, 31, of Havre de Grace, was convicted of two counts of assault and battery, one count of assault with intent to maim, and two weapons charges in connection with the March 1989 shooting of two men outside a Havre de Grace tavern.

The jury of seven men and five women acquitted Hathaway on a second count of assault with intent to maim. The State's Attorney's office dropped two counts of attempted murder before the three-day trial started.

Public Defender Lloyd G. Merriam argued that Hathaway was provoked into an argument with one of the victims, Thomas R. Johnson, of Havre de Grace.

Johnson testified that he started a fight with Hathaway.

However, Assistant State's Attorney William G. Christoforo argued that Hathaway intended to kill Johnson and a second victim, Mark T. Martin of Havre de Grace. Christoforo presentedevidence that Hathaway reloaded his gun after Johnson was shot.

During testimony before Judge William O. Carr, Hathaway testified that he fired shots from a handgun into the pavement to stop Johnson from attacking him. One of the bullets ricocheted off a curb and struck Johnson in the arm, Hathaway said.

After Johnson was shot, Hathaway fled and several men watching the confrontation chased after him, testimony showed.

Hathaway testified he fired several shots to stop the men from coming after him and one of the men, Martin, moved into the path of firing. Martin was wounded in the leg.

Before the trial started, Merriam filed motions to have the court rule that Hathaway is incompetent and not criminally responsible. Carr denied Merriam's motions.

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