Atlanta police looking to Md., Lewis' friends

Former UM player denies involvement

knives found in limo

February 03, 2000|By Peter Hermann and Ann LoLordo | Peter Hermann and Ann LoLordo,Sun Staff

ATLANTA -- Police investigating Ray Lewis' role in the stabbing deaths of two men continued to search yesterday for other members of the Baltimore Ravens linebacker's entourage and have made inquiries in Maryland.

Atlanta police asked team officials to tell them who received Lewis' sidelines passes to Ravens games, an NFL source said. Baltimore County police confirmed yesterday that they had been asked by Atlanta authorities to help locate addresses for people here. Lewis lives in Owings Mills.

In other developments, Assistant Fulton County Medical Examiner John Parker said police recovered three knives from the limousine rented by Lewis. Parker also characterized the victims' stab wounds as deliberate and deep, unlike those that might be suffered in a fight.

Police in Atlanta declined to comment on any part of their investigation into the slayings of Richard Lollar, 24, and Jacinth Demarus Baker, 21, who were stabbed during an altercation in the trendy Buckhead neighborhood hours after the Super Bowl here.

"We are searching for additional people," said Officer John Quigley, a spokesman for the Atlanta Police Department. "We are not commenting on how many or who."

A source investigating the incident said five women and five men, including Lewis, were in a stretch limousine at the scene of the killings. It was unclear last night how many of them have been located.

In today's editions, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that police investigators are looking for A. J. Johnson, a former University of Maryland player who had a tryout with the Miami Dolphins, and Kwame King, who grew up in Lewis' hometown of Lakeland, Fla. The newspaper referred to unnamed detectives who said Johnson and King were among those in the limousine.

Reached last night at his Laurel home, Johnson told The Sun that he has not been contacted by police and that he was at home in Maryland, not in Atlanta, the night of the Super Bowl.

"I ain't running from nobody," Johnson said. "I've got no reason to run."

Johnson, who played defensive back at Maryland from 1993 through 1996, said he watched the Super Bowl at his home with his girlfriend, Theresa Chinloy, and three other friends. Chinloy confirmed his account.

Many questions remain about how Lewis, 24, might been involved in the stabbings and what prompted the apparent altercation that police said started with a fight inside the Cobalt Lounge, which caters to high-rollers willing to shell out $100 to enter, and spilled onto the street early Monday.

But what has been described as a fight between two groups -- the entourage surrounding a big-spending professional football player vs. a barber and a budding art student -- might have been more one-sided than previously thought.

The assistant Fulton County medical examiner said yesterday that there was no evidence on either of the victims' bodies that they had been in a brawl. Parker said only Lollar had a bruise, which could have been sustained during a fall.

Parker said the wounds were deliberate and deep, and the stabs appeared to have been aimed at vital organs, such as the heart, indicating that the killer or killers were not in a frenzy or a violent struggle. Each victim was stabbed at least three times in the chest and abdomen through heavy winter clothing.

The doctor said Atlanta police recovered three knives from the stretch Lincoln Navigator limousine that sped away from the scene. Lewis rented the limousine from All Stretched Out Limousine Service in Baltimore.

Parker said investigators have not linked the three knives found in the limousine, or the one recovered by police at the scene, to the stabbings.

Atlanta police and the district attorney's office continued a virtual news blackout yesterday and refused to answer most questions or explain discrepancies in stories told by witnesses or investigative sources. They briefly scheduled, then canceled, a news conference yesterday afternoon.

Lewis' attorneys, friends and relatives have proclaimed his innocence. While acknowledging that Lewis was at the scene, they say that the player was trying to make peace between the combatants and was not involved in the stabbings.

Lewis is being held without bail at Atlanta City Jail. His lawyers are seeking a new bail hearing. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 24, and officials said a grand jury could consider the case tomorrow or Tuesday.

Conflicting accounts

Atlanta police released a three-page incident report that contains few new details and does little to clear up conflicting accounts of what happened. The report does not detail any events before police were called at 4:10 a.m.

Officials at the Cobalt Lounge have vehemently denied that a fight occurred inside their nightclub, which attracts stars such as Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and actor Judd Nelson, but is under pressure from neighborhood groups to close because of rowdy Sunday night parties.

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