Howard jury clears man of attempted murder

He is found guilty of assault, robbery of pizza deliverer

February 04, 2000|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

A Howard County Circuit Court jury acquitted a Baltimore man yesterday of two attempted murder charges in the shooting of a Columbia pizza delivery woman on New Year's Day 1999.

But Naim Quinton Abdul-Muhaimin, 21, was found guilty of assault, robbery, attempted carjacking and use of a handgun in a felony. He was accused of robbing Martha Lunsford, 31, dragging her across a parking lot and shooting her in the jaw. Some of the charges involved a second Papa John's pizza employee who was not injured.

The jury deliberated for more than 10 hours over two days. At one point yesterday, a juror sent a note to Circuit Judge Lenore R. Gelfman asking, "What happens if we have a hung jury on a couple of charges?" Gelfman reread the instructions to jurors and sent them back to deliberate after telling them to "do your best and come back with at least what you can manage."

Paul M. Polansky, Abdul-Muhaimin's attorney, said he was pleased with the acquittal on the attempted murder charges.

"It was a difficult case in that we conceded his guilt on some counts," Polansky said. Throughout the trial, Polansky acknowledged that Abdul-Muhaimin had assaulted and robbed Lunsford after a call was placed to Papa John's for a delivery in the 6100 block of Turnabout Lane. When Lunsford and co-worker Adeola Okabanjo arrived, Abdul-Muhaimin and Charles A. Mosley, 20, forced them into a laundry room and robbed them.

Lunsford and Okabanjo said the pair then tried to force them into a car, but Lunsford ran across the parking lot, was chased by Abdul-Muhaimin and shot.

Lunsford, a North Laurel resident, was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. She has recovered and is no longer an employee of the pizzeria.

Mosley pleaded guilty in an agreement with prosecutors last month to charges of robbery and use of a handgun in a felony. He testified as a prosecution witness.

During the trial, Polansky said his client has the maturity of a 10-year-old and was manipulated by Mosley. Polansky said his client did not mean to hurt Lunsford and had been told by Mosley that the gun was a starter pistol.

Yesterday, Gelfman ordered that a psychiatric evaluation be conducted on Abdul-Muhaimin before he is sentenced. Assistant State's Attorney Thomas W. Rafter said yesterday that he was "happy that [Abdul-Muhaimin] was convicted."

"We will be seeking a very lengthy incarceration period," Rafter said.

Abdul-Muhaimin is scheduled to be sentenced May 12. He faces a maximum of 100 years in prison.

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