Suspect denies he ever met slaying victim Carpenter testifies in case of man run over by car

September 17, 1998|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

John R. Simpson, being tried in Baltimore County Circuit Court on a murder charge, yesterday denied ever meeting the victim. He accused a lifelong friend for killing William A. Ehinger Jr., who was run over by his own car in August 1997.

Simpson, an Essex carpenter, also denied on the witness stand that he told a homicide detective that two other men had killed Ehinger.

Simpson, 28, told his lawyer, Ronald S. Kowitz, that he never met Ehinger, although he acknowledged riding in the man's car with his childhood friend Shawn T. Long hours after Ehinger's death.

Simpson said Long came to his house early Aug. 10 -- about the time of Ehinger's death -- in a "highly agitated" state.

Simpson said he lied to police about his whereabouts Aug. 10 because the truth "would have caused a very good friend of mine to go to jail."

That friend, Long, testified earlier yesterday as the prosecution's key witness against Simpson.

Long told the jury in Circuit Judge Lawrence R. Daniels' courtroom that he watched Simpson knock Ehinger to the ground during an argument.

Long said he was sitting in the back of Ehinger's car and accused Simpson of driving over Ehinger as the man was trying to stand up in the gravel parking lot.

In response to a question from Assistant State's Attorney Peter Johnson, Long testified that he thought Simpson could have avoided hitting Ehinger but drove along Eastern Boulevard, with Ehinger's body dragging underneath the car.

Long has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in exchange for an eight-year sentence and an agreement to testify this week against Simpson.

Pub Date: 9/17/98

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