Brothers testify they were asleep during rape, killing

January 25, 1995|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Sun Staff Writer

Two brothers standing trial on charges of raping and murdering a 7-year-old West Baltimore girl testified yesterday that they had nothing to do with the child's death.

Lamell A. Dixon, 18, and William P. Holland, 21, denied any involvement in the Dec. 18, 1992, slaying of Tanisha Hope Allen, who was smothered in her bedroom in a high-rise apartment in the Lexington Terrace public housing complex. A third defendant in the case, 21-year-old Tremaine L. Murphy, did not take the stand and called no witnesses on his behalf.

Testimony ended yesterday in the case. The Baltimore Circuit Court jury is expected to begin its deliberations after hearing closing arguments today.

The prosecution's key witness in the case, Raychella Smith, said she went to the apartment to retrieve her Independence card and saw Mr. Holland on top of the child and Mr. Dixon in the living room with his pants off. Ms. Smith said the girl's mother, Peggy C. Allen, was in the apartment.

Ms. Smith said that after she left the home the three men dashed past her in the high-rise stairwell. Ms. Allen, who testified that she slept through her daughter's rape and slaying, was originally charged with being an accomplice to murder, but that charge was dropped for lack of evidence.

Testifying yesterday, Mr. Dixon said he went to sleep in his apartment three floors below the girl's apartment the night before she was attacked and learned of the killing from his mother when he awoke the next morning.

In cross-examination, prosecutor Ilene Nathan asked how DNA evidence could have linked Mr. Dixon's bodily fluids to the girl's body.

"I have no idea," Mr. Dixon said.

Mr. Holland and his girlfriend, Lakisha Sawyer, testified that they were asleep in a home in the 600 block of N. Fulton St. at the time of the slaying and did not learn of the incident until watching the noon news the next day. Ms. Nathan then presented a rebuttal witness, Michelle Whitaker, who said she saw Mr. Holland near the police line outside the child's NTC apartment about 10 a.m. that day.

Prosecutors have filed notice that they will seek sentences of life without parole if the men are convicted.

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