Witness names defendant as shooter in killings Gunfire outside club last year left 2 dead

November 27, 1997|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

Describing the shooter as a man with a mouth full of gold teeth and an angry face, a key state witness took the stand yesterday in the trial of a man accused of killing two college students and wounding four people outside a Baltimore nightclub.

Ali J. Ellis said he was three to five feet from the man who fired a 9 mm handgun into the crowd outside Volcano's nightclub early Oct. 24, 1996, and that he had "no doubt whatsoever" that Kevin Lamont Richardson, the defendant, was the man.

"The shooter was so close, and it was so fast that we didn't have time to react," Ellis testified yesterday during the trial in Baltimore Circuit Court. "He just kept shooting with no remorse."

The state's case rests heavily on Ellis' testimony. His identification of Richardson led to Richardson's arrest in January.

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

He also has been charged with wounding four other people in the shooting, which prosecutors say was part of an attempt to assassinate an enemy of his. Police have said that none of the people who were shot outside Volcano's was the target of the gunman's attack.

As a result of the shootings, the city closed Volcano's, in the 1000 block of Greenmount Ave. Five people had been killed and 16 wounded outside the club since 1994.

John Deros, Richardson's lawyer, tried to discredit Ellis' testimony, asking him whether he saw the defendant clearly and whether darkness or any other factor might have hindered him from providing an accurate description.

"Are you saying you're incapable of being mistaken?" Deros asked as he closed his cross-examination.

Judge Robert I. H. Hammerman ordered Deros' question stricken from the record and told the jurors to disregard it.

Ellis, who went to Volcano's that night with Young, said the two were caught in the gunfire as they left the club through a side door and entered an alley about 1: 30 a.m. Ellis said neither he nor Young knew Richardson but that he never forgot his face.

After the shooting stopped, Ellis said, his friend was lying next to him dying. "I was just shocked," he said.

In January, Ellis said, he saw Richardson at another club, called Trilogy. On Jan. 13, Ellis said, he saw Richardson again at Trilogy and this time called police, who arrested Richardson at the club.

Pub Date: 11/27/97

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