Carozza accuses state of 'dirty tricks' 'Crowbar' tells court he was sleeping at time of victim's fatal shooting

March 01, 1991|By Raymond L. Sanchez | Raymond L. Sanchez,Evening Sun Staff

Dominic J. "Crowbar" Carozza has testified that he was sleeping off a hangover on the morning Russell Charles Baker was shot six times near Carozza's Little Italy home.

Carozza, 59, one of three men charged in connection with the June 22 shooting, admitted yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court that he had been out drinking with Baker on the night of the shooting. He said he returned drunk to his Albemarle Street home, went to sleep and learned of the shooting later that day.

After testifying in his own defense, the well-known local crime figure and suspended city public works superintendent refused to be cross-examined.

Carozza became incensed when prosecutor Elizabeth Ritter opened with a question about a 1971 car-bomb explosion that took the defendant's right leg.

Throwing his hands into the air, Carozza said: "I'm not going to testify if this continues. What they're doing is taking cheap shots."

Phillip Sutley, Carozza's lawyer, jumped up and slammed his chair back. Baltimore Circuit Judge Hilary D. Caplan sent the jury out.

Sutley asked for a mistrial, arguing the jury could have been tainted by the reference to the car-bombing. "It reflects badly on [Carozza's] character," the lawyer said. The judge said he was "not particularly happy with the question" but denied the request.

"Put me in jail," Carozza dared the judge. And he accused the state of "dirty tricks."

"I'm a citizen as you are," he told the judge. "I lost my job. I'm losing my money and they are keeping it up. . . . You know, how much is one human being under God's good earth suppose to take?"

Interrupting Caplan, Carozza continued: "Your problem is you're God. You're our God and you're allowing them to do what they want."

"I would like it on the record that I'm testifying under duress."

The state rested its case yesterday after the jury heard testimony from Corozza and the victim's mutual friends, some of whom were drug addicts and testified in exchange for favorable treatment in pending cases against them.

Carozza's criminal history spans three decades and includes numerous allegations and convictions connected to shootings, stabbings and federal firearms charges. He was recently convicted on a federal charge of tampering with a witness in the Baker murder case.

Corozza was acquitted in 1961 of a murder charge stemming from a fight outside a bar. In 1969, he was acquitted of killing two laundry workers on East Baltimore Street.

Now, Carozza and Robert "Tattoo Bobby" Vizzini, 26, are being tried in connection with Baker's murder. Alleged triggerman William "Crazy" Brooks will be tried later.

Baker, a 42-year-old heroin addict and reputed drug courier, was found dead on Pier 7 on the Fells Point waterfront.

According to trial testimony, Baker borrowed more than $2,000 from Carozza to buy heroin in Brooklyn, N.Y. Baker was supposed to sell the heroin with Carozza's girlfriend, Marsha Hammons, 36. But Baker, Hammons and Baker's girlfriend, Deana Bishop, injected most of the drug before it could be resold.

Baker, Hammons and Bishop often visited a Carroll County methadone clinic together.

Carozza, often abusive and sarcastic on cross-examination, testified that many people borrowed money from him. But he said he never lent money for drug buys.

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