Witness says Hill sold gun before robbery

December 07, 1993|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Staff Writere

Louis Hill III, the 26-year-old Rodgers Forge man accused of shooting four women in the back of the head as they lay on the floor during a Randallstown bank robbery, sold the murder weapon at least a month before the crime, a defense witness testified yesterday.

Willie Wilson, a college and business friend of Mr. Hill's, told a Harford County jury that he saw the murder weapon -- a Cobray Mac-11 machine pistol -- in the apartment of Benjamin Franklin Boisseau Jr. a month before the Oct. 26, 1992, robbery of the Farmers Bank & Trust Co. branch in the 9800 block of Liberty Road.

Boisseau, who worked for Mr. Hill's cleaning business and rented an apartment from Mr. Wilson, has been convicted of first-degree murder for his role in the robbery and is serving multiple life sentences. He is appealing his conviction.

Two of the bank tellers died in the robbery, and two other employees survived.

Shortly after the robbery police cornered Boisseau, 26, and Mr. Hill behind a shopping center. The two men had the Mac-11, ammunition, surgical gloves and $5,863 police say was stolen from the bank.

At his trial in March, Boisseau testified that Mr. Hill shot the four bank employees. Last week, he refused to testify at Mr. Hill's trial, citing his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Baltimore County prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Mr. Hill, who they believe pulled the trigger. However, they have been hard-pressed to produce direct evidence that he fired the shots.

They rested their case yesterday after playing a bank surveillance video that showed two men wearing ski masks entering the bank. The victims have said the man who fired the shots wore a red knit cap in which eye and mouth holes had been cut.

In the hours after the crime, police gathered hair and fiber samples from the heads of Mr. Hill and Boisseau. Those fibers were put on microscope slides and examined. Prosecution experts said hairs from the cap did not match Mr. Hill's or Boisseau's.

Yesterday, a defense expert said no red fibers were found on Mr. Hill's head, but several were found on Boisseau.

However, Dr. Walter F. Rowe, a professor of forensic science at George Washington University, admitted under cross-examination that fibers were more likely to cling to someone with a full head of hair like Boisseau, rather than Mr. Hill's closely-cropped head.

Defense attorneys David Henninger and Robert Morin called eight witnesses yesterday, including Mr. Hill's mother and sister. The two women said they encouraged Mr. Hill to get rid of the Mac-11 and said they never saw it in his apartment after July 1992.

The trial continues today in Harford County Circuit Court, where it was moved at Mr. Hill's request. With the state and defense having called all their witnesses, Judge William O. Carr gave Mr. Hill until today to decide if he wants to testify.

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