Witness seems to contradict testimony

Man's view of shooting was not as clear as he claims, woman says

Gunfire interrupted arrest

Wounded police officer expected on stand today

April 24, 2002|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

A woman testifying yesterday in the trial of a man accused of shooting a Baltimore police officer and a teen-ager last year appeared to contradict the statements of an earlier witness who said he saw Donnell A. Ward shoot the two.

On Monday, Martin Spriggs testified that he saw the shootings of police Officer Willie D. Grandy and the teen-ager from a window of a house in the 700 block of Wharton Court, a few feet from the incident.

But Brenda Johnson, who lives in the same house testified that the window that faced the shooting scene was closed that afternoon, and that it "would not be true" if Spriggs testified that the window was open and allowed him a clear view of the shooting.

Grandy, 41, who still carries a bullet in his left leg, is expected to testify today and to identify Ward as the man who shot him and the teen-ager he was arresting on marijuana charges March 26, 2001.

In outlining his case last week, Assistant State's Attorney James Wallner said that Grandy and his partner had 17-year-old Roy Hopkins in handcuffs when a man came around a corner with a handgun under a bandanna and fired seven shots.

Ward's lawyer, Brian G. Thompson, is expected to put his client on the stand today. Ward is expected to testify that he was at the East Baltimore scene but did not shoot Grandy or Hopkins.

Ward, 27, was arrested the next day as he walked through a park blocks from where the shooting occurred.

Police have recovered no weapons, fingerprints, gunshot residue or DNA evidence linking Ward to the shootings.

Police initially believed the shooter had run into Johnson's house after the shooting, leading to a two-hour standoff.

Spriggs, who is serving time in prison for several convictions including armed robbery, tested positive for gunshot residue on his hands, as did other people in the house.

Yesterday, however, Johnson testified there were five people in her house when they heard gunshots, and nobody entered or left the house until police called them out.

"No one came into my house. No one ran out of my house," said Johnson.

Detective Darrell W. Townsend, the lead investigator in the case, testified yesterday that after investigating, he learned that the shooter "couldn't have been in there."

A .22-caliber firearm with a broken handle was recovered from the house, but police said it was unlikely it was used to shoot the officer and teen-ager.

But Townsend also testified that he could not identify the type of gun used in the shooting because there were no casings on the ground and because the bullets fired into Grandy and Hopkins are lodged in their muscles.

Ward faces more than two dozen charges, including attempted first-degree murder against Grandy, Detective Michael Coleman and Hopkins. The maximum sentence for each of those charges is life in prison.

This trial comes two weeks after a jury convicted Howard "Wee" Whitworth of the fatal shooting of Baltimore police Officer Michael J. Cowdery.

Cowdery was murdered during a two-week period last year when three other officers, including Grandy, were wounded.

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