Lawyer argues man didn't intend to shoot pizza deliverer

Accomplice, victim set to testify this week

January 31, 2000|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

The trial of a Baltimore man accused of shooting a Columbia pizza delivery woman on New Year's Day 1999 continues in Howard County Circuit Court this week with the expected testimony of an accomplice and the victim.

Naim Quinton Abdul-Muhaimin, 21, is accused of dragging Martha Lunsford, 31, across a parking lot, putting a gun to her head and shooting her. He has been charged with attempted murder, assault, robbery and kidnapping. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

On Friday, his attorney, Paul M. Polansky, said during opening statements that his client assaulted and robbed Lunsford but didn't intend to harm her. Polansky said that another defendant in the case, Charles A. Mosley, 20, manipulated Abdul-Muhaimin.

Mosley, 20, pleaded guilty this month to reduced charges of robbery and use of a handgun in a felony under an agreement with prosecutors to testify in Abdul-Muhaimin's trial.

Polansky said Abdul-Muhaimin, who dropped out of school in the ninth grade, had the maturity of a 10-year-old. Polansky said Mosley had told Abdul-Muhaimin that the gun was a starter pistol. He said Abdul-Muhaimin fired the weapon to scare Lunsford, who was screaming and trying to run from the men.

"There were no blanks in the gun," said Polansky, who described Mosley as a street-smart "manipulator."

"There was a bullet," he said. "It is only by the grace of God that she is still on this planet."

Lunsford, of North Laurel, was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Bullet fragments were removed last summer.

Polansky conceded that his client intended to rob and assault Lunsford and another delivery worker that night. But Polansky is hoping to convince jurors that Abdul-Muhaimin did not intend to shoot or injure Lunsford.

Polansky said Mosley "played him like a violin. Nobody was more surprised than my client that Ms. Lunsford got shot."

Assistant State's Attorney Thomas W. Rafter said that on the evening of the shooting, Abdul-Muhaimin and Mosley needed money, so they decided to rob a pizza delivery driver. They called Papa John's to place a large order to be delivered to an apartment in the 6100 block of Turnabout Lane, Rafter said.

Soon after Lunsford and co-worker Adeola Okabanjo arrived, they were accosted by Mosley and Abdul-Muhaimin in a laundry room at the apartment complex, Rafter said.

The two men stole some cash and led Lunsford and Okabanjo outside, the prosecutor said. They tried to put the pair in Okabanjo's car and drive away, he said, but Lunsford fled across the lot and Abdul-Muhaimin chased her.

"He dragged her across the parking lot, pleading, begging for life," Rafter said. "But he kept dragging her. Got her on her knees. She bowed her head to pray. He fired the gun and blasted a bullet into her jaw."

As Okabanjo was trying to flee, he heard a gunshot and found Lunsford.

"She pulled her hair back and there was blood," Okabanjo said.

Okabanjo, who testified Friday, identified Abdul-Muhaimin as the man who chased Lunsford.

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