Man found guilty of killing another with 11 gunshots

November 19, 1994|By Robert Guy Matthews | Robert Guy Matthews,Sun Staff Writer

A Baltimore County Circuit Court jury yesterday found a 20-year-old man who shot another man 11 times guilty of second-degree murder.

Ventura McLee of West Baltimore could get 30 years in prison in the April slaying of Rohan Lawson Harvey, 26, which occurred after an argument outside Mr. Harvey's Woodlawn apartment. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 26.

Several members of McLee's family, who attended each day of the trial that began on Tuesday, said "Thank God" when the jury found him not guilty of first-degree murder, a verdict the prosecution had sought.

First-degree murder, which has to include premeditation, could have meant a life sentence.

"I'm disappointed," prosecutor Isaiah Dixon III said. "I think it was a compromised verdict. They struggled with the premeditation, and they were not comfortable with letting him off the hook."

McLee had testified that he shot Mr. Harvey because he feared for his life. He also testified that the gun he used, a semiautomatic SWD/Cobray M-11 9 mm pistol, malfunctioned, causing the bullets to spray out as from a machine gun. Fourteen shots were fired.

"I pulled the trigger once," McLee testified.

But Mr. Dixon tried to show that McLee pulled the trigger once for each of the 14 shots. On Thursday, he persuaded Judge John O. Hennegan to take the jury to the county police firing range to see tests of how the gun worked.

In each of three tests, the pistol fired only one bullet when the trigger was pulled.

The shooting happened about 10 p.m. April 9. McLee drove his girlfriend, who was Mr. Harvey's former girlfriend, to the victim's apartment in the 200 block of Richglen Drive to retrieve some items. The two men argued, flashed guns and Mr. Harvey grabbed McLee's girlfriend by the neck in an attempt to escape. Mr. Harvey was shot after he got into McLee's car, and he died at the scene.

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