Gunfight trial begins for Baltimore man who rejected plea deal

March 29, 1994|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Sun Staff Writer

A Baltimore man went on trial in Howard Circuit Court yesterday for his alleged involvement in a gunfight in the parking lot of a Columbia apartment complex nearly two years ago.

Dashoun Kris Alston, 20, of Baltimore, faces nine charges for allegedly trading gunfire with Damon Lamont Brooks of Columbia at the Stevens Forest apartment complex in the Oakland Mills village on July 30, 1992.

"This is about something that doesn't happen very much in Columbia," Senior Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Murtha said during his opening statement. "This is about two people who had a fight and wanted to resolve it by firing their guns."

Mr. Murtha told the jury that he will introduce statements Mr. Alston gave to police after the shootout in which he confessed to firing at least six shots at Brooks.

Brooks, who has entered into a plea agreement for his role in the gunfight, is expected to testify for the prosecution.

But Assistant Public Defender Richard Bernhardt told the jury that his client acted in self-defense after Brooks came to the apartment complex, pulled out his gun and fired at Mr. Alston.

Mr. Bernhardt asserted that Brooks came after his client for revenge after Mr. Alston beat him in a fistfight on the night before the shooting.

During the gunfight, two bullets struck a car while its owner was sitting in it, police said. One bullet struck the car's rear passenger-side window and another hit the vehicle's front fender. Its occupant was uninjured.

Another car, which was unoccupied, also was damaged during the gunfight, police said.

Mr. Alston of the 700 block of N. Gilmore St. is charged with assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to maim, reckless endangerment, assault, two counts of malicious destruction and three weapons violations.

If convicted of all charges, Mr. Alston could be sentenced to 84 years in prison.

Mr. Bernhardt noted that Mr. Alston turned down an offer from the prosecution that would have given him a five-year sentence if he pleaded guilty to a weapons violation.

Brooks, 24, of the 6300 block of Scarlet Petal, is serving a five-year prison sentence for a weapons violation after he accepted a plea agreement in February 1993.

In an unrelated case, Mr. Alston is scheduled to stand trial on May 25 on four drug charges after he was arrested for trespassing near the Harper's Choice Middle School in October.

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