Slaying suspect charged with shooting witness

November 25, 1992|By Roger Twigg and Jay Apperson | Roger Twigg and Jay Apperson,Staff Writers Staff writers Michael James and Joe Nawrozki contributed to this article.

Articles in Wednesday's editions of The Sun and The Evenin Sun incorrectly identified the judge who set bail for Keith Eugene Harper, a defendant in a narcotics-related murder case who is charged with attempting to murder a state witness in his trial. Judge Joseph A. Ciotola set the bail.

The Sun regrets the error.

A suspect free on bail in a narcotics-related murder case surrendered to police yesterday and was charged with shooting a state witness in his upcoming trial.

Police said Keith Eugene Harper, 22, of the 3400 block of Ravenwood Ave. in Northeast Baltimore walked into police headquarters downtown about 5 a.m. and said he had gunned down the witness, Barry Davis, 21.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

Mr. Davis was shot four times as he entered the vestibule of his home in the 2200 block of Cecil Ave. about 8:20 p.m. Monday, police said. He remained in critical condition last night at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center with gunshot wounds in the neck and arms. He is expected to survive, but he likely will suffer some type of paralysis, said homicide Detective Gerald Goldstein.

Mr. Harper was charged with attempted murder and a handgun violation. He was one of the three men charged in the fatal shooting June 6 of Lionel Wayne Rogers at 20th and Kennedy streets.

In that attack, police said, the victim was sitting on steps just after 1 a.m. when three men emerged from an alley and shot him. An autopsy showed that Mr. Rogers died of wounds from bullets fired from three different guns, court records stated.

Police located witnesses who identified the suspects from photographs and testified before a grand jury, court records show. In an Aug. 14 application for charges against Mr. Harper, Detective John T. Brown wrote: "The witnesses' names will be withheld at this time for fear of retaliation, but will be made available at any legal proceeding."

The original list of prosecution witnesses contained in court files did not include Mr. Davis' name; his name was first made public in a list of additional state witnesses filed with the court Oct. 29.

Mr. Harper surrendered to authorities Aug. 24. He told police he had been present when Mr. Rogers was shot but he "didn't do anything," according to court records. Police said they believed that the murder was narcotics-related. Mr. Harper was released four days later after he made bail, authorities said.

The two other suspects in that case -- Thyon A. Greene, 22, of the 1900 block of Aisquith St. and Deshean Carroll, 19, of the 1900 block of Kennedy Ave. -- were being held without bail last night at the Baltimore City Detention Center.

Police said an uncle of Mr. Carroll is considered a suspect in Monday night's shooting.

Asked why Mr. Harper was released on bail after being charged with murder, Sam Ringgold, a city police spokesman said, "It's a mystery to me. They were all charged with first-degree murder."

Court records show Judge Barbara B. Waxman of the District Court set bail for Mr. Harper at $50,000 on Aug. 28. The defendant was released after four East Baltimore properties with a total value of $48,920 were posted on his behalf. A bail bondsman covered the other $1,080.

Mr. Ringgold said that no special protection was afforded Mr. Davis because there was no reason to believe any was necessary. "There were no threats made that we were aware of," he said.

The murder case was scheduled to be argued before a jury tomorrow in the courtroom of Baltimore City Circuit Judge Elsbeth Levy Bothe.

Julius Silvestri, the prosecutor assigned to the case, said yesterday that he didn't think the case would go to trial as scheduled.

State's Attorney Stuart O. Simms said a few minutes later that Mr. Davis' testimony was to have satisfied "a portion of the state's case toward establishing elements of motive, intent and identification."

He said that because of Mr. Davis' shooting, the state would be asking for a postponement.

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