Someone Else strikes again in police death

April 03, 2002|By Gregory Kane

THE FBI IS supposedly the nation's top law enforcement agency. The truth is, it's overrated, ineffective and incompetent. How else could we explain why that dangerous, dreaded and elusive criminal, Someone Else, is not at the top of the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List?

We have no firm description of Else. We know he's male. But his address, whereabouts and even his origins are unknown. What we do know is that on the night of Dec. 9, 1981, Else was in Philadelphia, where he gunned down and killed Officer Daniel Faulkner.

Else escaped, leaving a black journalist and former Black Panther named Mumia Abu-Jamal to take the blame. Abu-Jamal was a sympathizer of the radical group MOVE, which clashed frequently with police, most notably in 1985 when police dropped a bomb on the group's fortified West Philadelphia rowhouse, killing 11 people, including six children, and leaving a city block in ashes.

Thus Abu-Jamal was easy to finger as the fall guy. The fact that he was shot and his own gun was found nearby, empty, didn't deter his supporters from fingering Else as the trigger man. Abu-Jamal's backers couldn't believe more fervently in his innocence if God Almighty descended from the heavens and proclaimed it.

Yes, they tell us. Else definitely shot Faulkner that night. Abu-Jamal was convicted of Faulkner's murder and sentenced to death, but Else is the real culprit.

Else vanished from the public eye after that, surfacing only to commit a string of other crimes. He didn't make the news again until the summer of 1995. Else didn't use a gun this time. His weapon of choice was a knife, which he used to viciously stab Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman to death in Los Angeles.

Simpson's estranged ex-husband, former All-Pro football player O.J. Simpson, was charged with both murders. Else left O.J., who we all know doesn't have a violent bone in his body, to take the blame. But Else's crime here was more than murder. He divided the country along racial lines. Blacks who never gave O.J. more than a passing thought took him unto their bosoms and made him a victim and a superhero. Whites who used to cheer him began to think of him as the devil incarnate.

When O.J. was acquitted in a criminal trial in late 1995, some blacks cheered the verdict as if Joe Louis had knocked out Max Schmeling in the first round all over again. Some shocked and angry whites haven't gotten over the verdict to this day. Else's two evil deeds for the price of one -- committing murder and inciting racial hatred -- were done.

The elusive Else disappeared for several years more. But in 2001, he finally made it to Baltimore's killing streets.

It was the night of March 12 last year, about 10 p.m. Baltimore police detectives Michael Cowdery, Robert Jackson, Ronald Beverly and Tiffany Walker stopped two men they suspected of dealing drugs outside a Chinese carryout on Harford Road. Cowdery then questioned Rachel Rogers, a prostitute and drug addict, when she left the restaurant. During that field interview, Else walked to within 10 to 15 feet of the scene and shot Cowdery in the knee.

Cowdery's three partners scrambled for cover and assumed he did likewise. But Cowdery couldn't move because of the leg wound. As he lay on the ground, Else walked up to Cowdery and fired one fatal shot from a .357 Magnum into his head.

The next poor soul who would take the blame for Else's crimes happened on the scene. Howard "Wee" Whitworth, the bad-luck case of 2001, was walking to a store to buy liquor and maybe sell some drugs. After Else shot Cowdery, he ran toward Cliftview Avenue, passing Whitworth on the way. Whitworth said he was hit by Cowdery's partners, who were firing at Else. Somehow in the gun battle, Else lost his weapon, which landed near Whitworth when he hit the ground from his wounds.

Oh, cruel hand of fate! Is there no way to catch this man Else? How many more innocent victims will he leave holding the bag for his crimes?

Whitworth's attorney, Assistant Public Defender John Markus, suggested during his closing arguments that it was Jackson who planted Else's dropped weapon next to Whitworth. The allegation angered police officers, who felt the integrity of one of their colleagues had been impugned, but let's not forget the real culprit here.

It was Else. Apparently, he has telepathic powers that compelled Jackson to plant the gun. Or perhaps it was Else, working some sort of mysterious mind control, who forced Markus to point an accusing finger at Jackson. But, according to the defenders of Abu-Jamal and O.J. and Whitworth, we must not forget the real enemy. He's Someone Else. He's out there. He's dangerous. And he's ready to strike again.

On Monday, a silly, misguided Baltimore jury, afflicted with an ailment known as common sense, refused to believe in Else's existence and convicted Whitworth of murder. It's quite a pity that, in Whitworth's case, Else won't be around to take the sentence for him.

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