Acquitted Man Sued By Victim

Neighbor Says Shooting Was 'Malicious'

April 07, 1991|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff writer

An Aberdeen man acquitted of attempted murder for an April 1990 shooting has been sued in Harford Circuit Court for $1.5 million by the man he shot.

Richard J. Leftwich, 25, was found not guilty after hetold the jury during his trial last month that he shot a neighbor toprotect his family when the man tried to enter his home in the Windsor Apartments complex on April 28, 1990. Leftwich said at the trial he thought the man was an intruder.

The neighbor, Rodolfo R. Gracia Jr., who now lives in Carroll County, claims in his civil suit that Leftwich "violently, wantonly and maliciously" assaulted him.

Gracia is seeking $750,000 in compensatory damages and $750,000 in punitive damages.

In the suit, Graciaclaims that the shooting caused him "to suffer severe and permanent injuries to his head, body and limbs, and great physical pain and mental anguish."

During Leftwich's trial, Gracia testified that Leftwich shot him in the stomach and once in each arm with a .22-caliber semiautomatic handgun. A fourth bullet grazed his neck, behind the left ear.

Gracia, a 26-year-old Texas native, testified that he is partially paralyzed in his left arm because one of the bullets caused nerve damage.

Gracia told the jury that he thought he was going into his apartment after his sister drove him to the complex.

He testified that he drank about nine beers and three shots of whiskey during the day of the shooting.

Gracia said he was mistakenly trying tounlock Leftwich's door with the key to his own apartment. Leftwich opened the door while holding the handgun.

Leftwich, a lay ministerat River City Baptist Church in Perryman, testified that he and his wife were worried that Gracia was the burglar who had broken into their apartment just 16 hours earlier.

Following the shooting, Leftwich was charged with attempted murder, assault with intent to murder, assault and battery, and use of a handgun by Havre de Grace police. He was found not guilty of all charges.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.