Trial begins in nightclub shootings Two students killed, four others wounded in 1996 at now-defunct Volcano's

November 25, 1997|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

Describing the shootings as part of an attempt to "assassinate an enemy," the state began its case yesterday against a 25-year-old Baltimore man accused of killing two college students and wounding four other people outside the Volcano's nightclub.

Kevin Urick, who is prosecuting the case, did not name the target of Kevin Lamont Richardson's alleged attack during his opening statements yesterday. Police have said that the dispute was over something "real stupid," and none of those who were shot outside the club early Oct. 24, 1996, was an intended victim.

The city permanently closed Volcano's, in the 1000 block of Greenmount Ave., after the shootings. Five people were killed and 16 others wounded outside the club since 1994.

Urick told jurors yesterday that he will present a witness who will positively identify Richardson as the gunman who fired a 9 mm pistol into a crowd of hundreds last fall.

The witness, Ali J. Ellis, "heard the first shot, turned and saw the defendant," Urick said. "He will tell you that the defendant had an angry face a face he will never forget."

In a statement he made to police, Richardson said he was around the scene of the shooting, but he did not fire a gun at the crowd. Urick said he will introduce the statement into evidence during the trial, which is expected to last a month.

Responding to the state's accusations, John Deros, Richardson's lawyer, said in his opening remarks that the charges against his client were a case of mistaken identity.

"As you will hear from the evidence, literally all hell broke loose that night," Deros said. "The Volcano was erupting and literally hundreds of people were coming out of that club, young people, people who had been drinking."

Deros said he also will introduce a witness who saw the shooter. And "the individual seated out here," Deros said, pointing to Richardson, "is not the person he saw."

Richardson is accused of killing Donte Young, a 22-year-old student at Coppin State College, and Lori McDaniel, 19, a second-year civil engineering student at Morgan State University.

City residents Crystal Simpson and Carolyn Young, two of the four people wounded during the shooting, testified yesterday that troubles around the time of the shooting started with fights inside the nightclub.

"It was like a gang of boys and another gang of boys," said Young, who is not related to Donte Young. "I would say about 10 or more for each group."

The fights led security officers at the club to clear everyone out about 1: 40 a.m., Young and Simpson testified.

The two women, who traveled to the club together, left the club through a side door that led to an alley, Young and Simpson testified. Shortly after they got outside, they heard gunfire, and each of them was struck in the right leg, below the knee -- Young twice and Simpson once.

Neither of the women saw the gunman, they said.

Members of Donte Young's family sat in the courtroom yesterday listening to the testimony -- some of whom were wearing T-shirts with his picture and the words "IN MEMORY OF DONTE P. YOUNG."

In 1992, Richardson was convicted of drug possession after a police officer who stopped him found 51 capsules of crack cocaine. He received a five-year suspended sentence. In 1993, he was convicted of handgun possession and spent a year in jail.

Pub Date: 11/25/97

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.