Robbery victim testifies

April 21, 1994|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Sun Staff Writer

The former operator of an Elkridge liquor store told a Howard Circuit Court jury yesterday about the day last June when a man came into the shop, held a revolver at his head and demanded all his money.

Germanus John Blottenberger Jr., whose family operated Elkridge Liquors until a few months ago, testified that he had no choice but to turn over about $150 to the man.

"I was concerned for my life," Mr. Blottenberger told the jury of seven women and five men.

Mr. Blottenberger took the witness stand in the first day of testimony in the trial of Dennis Edwin O'Donnell, a 34-year-old Arbutus man charged with armed robbery and a weapons violation for the June 9 robbery.

Testimony in the case continues today.

Preston Pairo III, an Ellicott City attorney for Mr. O'Donnell, told the jury in his opening statement that the police arrested the wrong man for the robbery.

Mr. Pairo noted that descriptions of the robber from several witnesses vary, including one from Mr. Blottenberger -- who identified Mr. O'Donnell in a photo line-up.

The defense attorney also noted that police didn't find a revolver or the clothing worn by the robber when they searched Mr. O'Donnell's home.

Mr. O'Donnell, who is expected to testify, paid for a polygraph test that his attorney said shows he did not rob the liquor store. Results of such tests cannot be admitted as evidence during trials in Maryland, however.

Senior Assistant State's Attorney Christine Gage told the jury in her opening statement that the evidence will leave no doubt that Mr. O'Donnell robbed Elkridge Liquors.

"That man walked up to Mr. Blottenberger, pulled out a handgun and held it to Mr. Blottenberger's head and demanded money," Ms. Gage said.

Mr. Blottenberger, 24, testified that the robber came into the store three times before approaching the counter and pulling a gun on him.

The businessman was able to identify Mr. O'Donnell as the suspect when Mr. O'Donnell came into the store nine days later to buy beer. He said he recognized Mr. O'Donnell's face, build and voice as being that of the robber.

Mr. Blottenberger testified that he was afraid the man would rob him again. "I thought, 'Oh my God, this is the guy who robbed me,' " he said.

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