Man freed in killing is charged in shooting

Pettiford is accused of wounding motorist in a road-rage incident

July 06, 2002|By Allison Klein and Del Quentin Wilber | Allison Klein and Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

Antoine J. Pettiford, who was convicted of first-degree murder in 1995 and later freed after Baltimore prosecutors and police were found to have botched the case, was accused yesterday of shooting a man in a road rage incident.

Pettiford, 31, whose murder case attracted widespread publicity in the 1990s, is accused of shooting Keith Goodie Sr., 36, twice in the back as Goodie drove north in the 3200 block of Harford Road about 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

Pettiford had two female passengers and a 3-year-old girl in his car at the time, police said. Goodie was driving alone.

Police said that Pettiford told detectives that he opened fire because Goodie shot at him first.

Both cars were struck by bullets, police said. Pettiford's driver's side windows were shot out, as were Goodie's passenger-side windows, police said.

Pettiford was stopped for a traffic violation and arrested shortly after the shooting. A spokeswoman for the city state's attorney's office characterized the shooting as a "road rage" incident.

Stashed in Pettiford's glove box in his green four-door sedan was a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol with two bullets left in its magazine, police said.

Goodie was taken to Franklin Square Hospital Center by ambulance, and later was transferred to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

Pettiford, who is being held on a no-bail status over the weekend, is charged with attempted first-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and various handgun charges.

"We will aggressively prosecute the allegation," said Margaret T. Burns, a spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office. "This is a significant arrest alleging serious injury."

Pettiford has been arrested more than 14 times since 1985 on drug and other charges.

He was convicted in June 1995 of first-degree murder in the death of Oscar Edward Lewis Jr., who was killed in a gang-style shooting in East Baltimore.

The next year, another man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to arranging the crime. That man, Demetrius Smith, told his lawyer he had never heard of Pettiford.

It was then discovered that police and prosecutors withheld evidence that could have helped Pettiford's defense, a violation of state and federal laws.

A Baltimore judge erased Pettiford's murder conviction in 1998 and offered him a new trial.

Pettiford instead took a plea bargain that allowed him to immediately leave jail, where he had been imprisoned for four years.

In 2000, Circuit Judge Ellen M. Heller cleared his name, saying that a police detective "deliberately" misled the defense. She ruled that continued evidence violations made the case "a miscarriage of justice."

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