Court allows lawyer's inspection of car involved in teen's slaying BALTIMORE CITY

April 07, 1993|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

Preparing for possible legal action against Baltimore City, the mother of a teen-ager shot dead last month by a city police officer obtained a court order yesterday allowing her lawyer to inspect the stolen car in which the boy was killed.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Joseph McCurdy ordered city officials to make the car available for inspection by Valeria Johnson and her lawyer for 72 hours. Court records identify Ms. Johnson as the mother of Antoine Johnson, the 15-year-old who was killed March 23 in the 3300 block of Park Circle by Officer Nicholas Pelekakis, a 13-year veteran assigned to the Western District.

Thomas C. Cardaro said he conducted a "preliminary inspection" of the 1992 Toyota Cressida yesterday at the city impoundment lot on Pulaski Highway. He said his "expert witnesses," whom he would not describe further, will take another, closer look at the car.

Mr. Cardaro said he is looking into whether a civil suit against the city is merited, adding: "The bottom line is, my job, on behalf of the mother, is finding out why her son was shot and killed."

A city grand jury decided last week not to indict the 37-year-old officer, who said he shot the boy because he feared for his life. The boy was shot after the officer spotted a stolen car with three youths inside. The officer said that while he was arresting two boys, the third, who was the young Johnson, threw the car into reverse and tried to run him down.

Some witnesses claimed that the Johnson boy was out of the car when he was shot by the officer. But investigators said the witnesses' accounts were false because the bullet passed through the driver's seat and struck the boy in the back. The vehicle then crashed into the officer's patrol car, police said.

In papers filed on Ms. Johnson's behalf yesterday in city Circuit Court, Mr. Cardaro demanded to be allowed to inspect the car, which has been in police custody since the start of the grand jury investigation, for bullet holes and blood and mud stains that would likely be lost if the car is returned to its owner, the Brooklyn Park dealership from which it was reported stolen.

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