Jury deliberates in shooting trial

Defendant is charged in Jan. 1, 1999, attack on pizza delivery driver

February 03, 2000|By Jamie Smith Hopkins | Jamie Smith Hopkins,SUN STAFF

Howard County jurors will return to deliberations today in the trial of a Baltimore man charged with shooting a Columbia pizza delivery woman on New Year's Day, 1999.

The jury went home last night after spending nearly nine hours considering the fate of 21-year-old Naim Quinton Abdul-Muhaimin. The defendant is accused of robbing Martha Lunsford, 31, dragging her across a parking lot and shooting her in the jaw.

Abdul-Muhaimin is charged with attempted murder, assault, robbery, attempted carjacking and use of a handgun in a felony. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

Circuit Judge Lenore R. Gelfman convened attorneys for both sides at 8 p.m., informing them of a note from jurors saying they were "stuck on a few issues," and would resume this morning.

During closing arguments yesterday, Assistant State's Attorney Thomas W. Rafter told the jury that Papa John's Pizza was called and asked to deliver a large order to an apartment in the 6100 block of Turnabout Lane.

When Lunsford and co-worker Adeola Okabanjo arrived, they were forced by two men into a laundry room at the apartment complex, Rafter said. The two men, who Rafter said were Abdul-Muhaimin and Charles A. Mosley, 20, stole cash and led the victims outside, he said.

Rafter said the men then tried to put the pair in Okabanjo's car and drive away, but Lunsford ran across the parking lot. According to Rafter, Abdul-Muhaimin chased her, dragged her back, put a gun to her head and "blasted a bullet into her jaw."

Lunsford, a North Laurel resident, was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Okabanjo, who testified Friday, identified Abdul-Muhaimin as the man who chased Lunsford.

Under an agreement with prosecutors, Mosley pleaded guilty last month to charges of robbery and use of a handgun in a felony.

Abdul-Muhaimin's attorney, Paul M. Polansky, acknowledged throughout the trial that Abdul-Muhaimin assaulted and robbed Lunsford, but didn't intend to seriously harm her.

Polansky said his client has the maturity of a 10-year-old and was manipulated by Mosley. Mosley told Abdul-Muhaimin that the gun was a starter pistol, Polansky said, and Abdul-Muhaimin fired the gun to scare Lunsford.

"After firing one time, he realized this wasn't a starter pistol," he said yesterday. "If he intended to kill, he would have fired again."

Rafter told the jury that both evidence and "common sense" showed that Abdul-Muhaimin intended to kill Lunsford.

"He sat there with a gun, a gun he knew was a .32-caliber pistol, aimed it at her head and pulled the trigger," the prosecutor said. "Hold him accountable for what happened."

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