"Hurry up because it looks like a man is attacking a woman," Maryann Ricketts was telling a police dispatcher. "Oh, God, hurry up."
Ricketts -- whose recorded call to police was replayed in court yesterday -- watched the attack from the window of her home in Edgewood early March 12, 1990. Speaking haltingly on a witness stand yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court, Ricketts recalled how she viewed from a distance what apparently was the stabbing death of Spec. 4 Bonnie Sue Joseph, 21, a military police clerk from Aberdeen Proving Ground.
Her testimony was among the first from a string of witnesses and experts prosecutors and defense attorneys plan to call over the next two weeks in the first-degree murder trial of Daniel Eugene Turner, 32, of Aberdeen. Testimony from prosecution witnesses was to continue today.
The prosecution also alleges that Turner kidnapped, robbed and attempted to rape the woman before stabbing her 25 times. The case was moved to Baltimore County because of pre-trial publicity.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
The victim's "clothes were saturated with blood," Joseph I. Cassilly, the Harford County state's attorney, told a jury of five men and seven women yesterday in his opening argument. The defendant, too, was soaked in blood, "even his underwear," Cassilly said.
Turner, a one-time circus laborer, was apprehended several hours after the alleged attack.
Prosecutors say they intend to link Turner to the victim using chemical analysis of genetic material in semen found on Joseph's "battle dress uniform," or fatigues. They also intend to call witnesses who say they saw Turner and Joseph at the same time at a convenience store in Aberdeen.
On the day she was killed, Joseph had left work about 2 a.m. to buy cigarettes and food for her and her co-workers.
Defense attorney Luther C. West acknowledged in his opening argument that "this is a case of nasty facts."
"But I don't know whether you're going to see the clear picture that Mr. Cassilly has presented for you," West said. He said witnesses and some police officers will give conflicting or incomplete information and that some testimony will suggest there was more than one possible assailant seen running from where Joseph's body was found.
Ricketts testified that she had not seen the assailant's face and couldn't tell his race. Turner is black.