Brooks' lawyer attacks credibility of key prosecution witness

February 24, 1994|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Sun Staff Writer

The defense attorney for a Baltimore County man on trial for the October 1992 slaying of his longtime friend went on the attack yesterday, calling a key prosecution witness a liar.

William H. Murphy Jr. pointed out to a Howard Circuit Court jury apparent inconsistencies in the testimony of Linwood Taylor Jr., who took the stand for prosecutors as part of a plea agreement.

Taylor, who is serving a 15-year prison sentence for his role in the slaying, testified in the trial of Troy Lynn Brooks, saying the Rockdale man shot the victim twice in the head on Oct. 10, 1992.

"If you lied to the police repeatedly, if you lied to this jury, . . . why should they take the word of a person like you?" the Baltimore attorney asked Taylor.

"I'm under oath and I'm telling the truth," Taylor responded.

Mr. Brooks, 29, is charged with first-degree murder and five other counts for the slaying of Kevin Lee Holland, 27, of Baltimore, outside the Woodstock post office.

Prosecutors say Mr. Brooks was angry with Mr. Holland for smoking crack-cocaine that he intended to sell. The men had been friends since they were about 13 years old.

Mr. Brooks could be sentenced to life in prison without parole if convicted. Testimony in the trial continues today before Judge James Dudley.

During two hours of aggressive cross-examination yesterday, Taylor admitted that he first lied to police investigators after his arrest over his involvement in the shooting.

Taylor said he initially told investigators that he was not at the scene of the shooting because he was nervous. He then told police that he witnessed the shooting, but wasn't involved.

He later admitted that he stopped the victim from running away while Mr. Brooks repeatedly struck him.

Mr. Murphy asked Taylor to describe how Mr. Brooks shot Mr. Holland. Taylor explained that Mr. Brooks stood over the victim, who was lying face down on the ground, and fired two gunshots.

The defense attorney noted that Taylor's description conflicts with the findings of a state medical examiner who testified Tuesday that at least one shot was fired while the gun was held to Mr. Holland's head.

Mr. Murphy also went over Taylor's plea agreement for second-degree murder, which the Baltimore man accepted in July.

The agreement calls for Taylor to testify against Mr. Brooks in exchange for a 15-year sentence.

"If you did the killing, you're getting away with murder," Mr. Murphy said. "You shot this man, didn't you?"

"No," Taylor answered.

Mr. Murphy challenged several points of Taylor's statements. Taylor testified Tuesday that he met Mr. Brooks on the day of the shooting at the Baltimore intersection of North Avenue and Linden Street.

Taylor told police, however, that he met Mr. Brooks at North Avenue and Eutaw Place, about two blocks away.

"Can you tell when somebody is telling a big lie by catching them in a little lie?" Mr. Murphy asked Taylor.

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