Victim now is unsure of shooter's ID

Trial is under way in second shooting in Harper's Choice

Crime shocked residents

Defense says suspect was at home when incident occurred

August 24, 1999|By Erika Niedowski | Erika Niedowski,SUN STAFF

The 18-year-old victim of a shooting last year in Columbia's Harper's Choice village acknowledged in court testimony yesterday he is unsure whether the man on trial pulled the trigger.

Raymond T. Lawson, formerly of Wilde Lake, testified that Maurice Green, 22, of Baltimore was present when he was accosted by two men about 12: 30 a.m. Sept. 30, 1998, near Harper's Choice Village Center. A gun was put to his temple, he was pushed from his bicycle, kicked in the head, robbed of about $100 and shot in the abdomen, Lawson said.

"When I see a face, I remember it," Lawson told the 12-member jury in Howard Circuit Court.

But Lawson also said he never saw Green with a gun. Lawson testified that a man accompanying Green, who was never identified by police, was holding the weapon, which was not found.

The lawyer for Green, who faces charges including attempted murder, second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault, said in his opening statement that his client was at home when the shooting occurred.

"The only thing that puts him at the place is the victim," said James V. Cunningham. "Our contention is [Lawson] made a mistake."

Green, of the 400 block of Poplar Grove St., is expected to testify on his own behalf.

Prosecutors have no physical evidence linking the defendant to the shooting.

The shooting of Lawson, who revealed in testimony yesterday that he had crack cocaine on him to sell at the time of the incident, was the first of two shootings in a 24-hour period in September that shocked residents of Harper's Choice. The 18-year-old Baltimore man charged with attempted murder in the second shooting, Robert Joseph Manning, was acquitted in Howard Circuit Court earlier this year in a case that came down to the word of one man against another.

Police have said the two shootings were not related, but testimony in the Manning trial indicates they may have been.

Manning testified that he owed Green $200 for drugs, and that he feared Green might shoot him for not paying it back. According to Manning, he and Green discussed Lawson's shooting several hours after it happened, at which time Green allegedly told him, "There's going to be more of that if I don't get my money."

Manning said Green had shown him a 9 mm handgun several days earlier. Lawson testified yesterday that he believes that was the kind of gun used to shoot him.

Lawson, who suffered a lacerated liver and perforated diaphragm as a result of the shooting and said he still has the bullet lodged behind his lung, identified Green in a photo lineup while recovering at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

He said he knows of no motive for the shooting.

Called yesterday as a witness for the prosecution, Chrystal Brown, 17, of Wilde Lake said that she and a friend, Rosetta Rose, who is also expected to testify, ran into Lawson near Harper's Choice Village Center about 12: 30 a.m. Sept. 30.

Brown testified that two men -- one "tall and skinny," the other "heavyset" -- kicked Lawson and went through his pockets, and that the heavier man pulled the trigger. She said on the stand that she saw a gold-colored car, though she had told police it was a cream-colored station wagon.

Green drives a cream-colored Nissan Maxima.

Assistant State's Attorney Debra Saltz told the jury in her opening statement that police, using digital photography, later found what they believed to be impressions of a gun in a hidden area in the back seat of Green's car.

She also said that Green, who has been out on bail since November, had changed his story several times during police questioning.

"You'll find that there are several discrepancies on Mr. Green's part," she said.

But Cunningham, Green's lawyer, said the same about Lawson, who failed to appear in court in May when Green's trial was scheduled to begin. Lawson is being held at the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County for juvenile probation violations, his mother has told The Sun.

According to Cunningham, Lawson said in statements to police that he was "not certain" which man pulled the trigger and what type of vehicle was involved.

"There are too many `not certains' " to convict Green, he said.

Pub Date: 8/24/99

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