Prosecutors want to link gun's imprint to suspect

No physical evidence ties man to 1998 shooting, defense lawyer argues

August 25, 1999|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

Howard County prosecutors tried yesterday to link the shooting of a teen-ager in Harper's Choice last year to an impression left by a handgun in the defendant's car.

That shooting was the first of two in September that rocked Harper's Choice. Police quickly found a suspect, charging Maurice Green, 22, with attempted first-degree murder stemming from the shooting of Raymond T. Lawson and robbery on Sept. 20. Green's trial began Monday.

Prosecutors apparently lack other physical evidence directly linking Green to the crime; a Howard County crime scene technician testified yesterday that police did not find any shell casings, fingerprints or other evidence to link Green to the scene.

Prosecutors spent much of yesterday focusing on an impression a handgun made in the back of Green's Nissan Maxima. Shortly after Green's arrest, a Howard County crime scene technician made casts of several impressions found in Green's car, the technician testified.

An expert on firearms with Baltimore County police testified that the impressions matched a Smith & Wesson handgun. A forensic photographer with that police agency showed jurors blown-up images of the impressions and of a Smith & Wesson handgun.

Throughout the day, Green's attorney, James V. Cunningham, objected to the evidence. He argued that prosecutors do not have the handgun used in the shooting of Lawson, now 18, and do not know when the impressions were left in Green's car.

"There's no connection between [the gun] in the back seat of my client's car" and the crime, Cunningham argued.

Lawson testified Monday that he thought the weapon was a Taurus handgun, but he also said it could have been a Smith & Wesson. Cunningham noted that yesterday.

But Howard Circuit Judge Dennis M. Sweeney overruled Cunningham's objections and allowed the impressions and related photographs into evidence.

Lawson testified that two men approached him on the path by Harper's Choice Village Center about 12: 30 a.m. Sept. 20.

He said that one man put a gun to his temple. He then was pushed from his bicycle, kicked in the head and robbed of about $100, Lawson testified.

Though Lawson said Green was one of the men who accosted him, he testified that the other man -- never identified by police -- was the one holding the gun.

The shooting would have killed Lawson if he had not had surgery, said a doctor at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. The shooting injured Lawson's stomach, liver and diaphragm. The bullet is lodged in Lawson's body.

A teen-age girl who was with Lawson during the shooting also testified yesterday.

Rosetta Rose, 16, said she was standing on the path with Lawson and another friend, Chrystal Brown, when the shooting happened. Rosetta testified that because her head was turned, she did not see who shot Lawson.

The shooting was the first of two in two days within blocks of Harper's Choice Village Center. The defendant in the other case was acquitted by a jury in March.

The trial is scheduled to continue tomorrow.

Pub Date: 8/25/99

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