Man charged in shootings goes before his second jury

Ward accused in ambush of officer, another man

September 25, 2002|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

The man charged with ambushing and shooting Baltimore police Officer Willie D. Grandy last year went on trial yesterday, facing his second jury for the same crime.

A jury deadlocked five months ago, unable to unanimously decide whether Donnell A. Ward shot the officer and a teen-ager he was arresting in an East Baltimore public housing complex.

Lawyers decided to retry the case, which ended in a 10-2 deadlock in April.

After the last trial, 10 members of the jury thought Ward was innocent of 21 counts, including three of attempted first-degree murder. Two jurors thought Ward was guilty of shooting Grandy, 41, in the left leg and Roy Hopkins, 17, in the buttock March 26 last year.

Both men carry bullets in their bodies, but have since recovered.

The case gained notoriety because Grandy was shot during a two-week span last year when there were several shootings involving police. Baltimore police Agent Michael J. Cowdery was shot and killed, and three other officers were wounded. Two suspects were also shot and killed by police during that period, another was wounded and a fourth was shot at by an officer.

The afternoon Grandy was shot, Grandy and his partner, dressed in plainclothes, were arresting Hopkins on charges of dealing marijuana in the 700 block of Wharton Court.

They had Hopkins in handcuffs when a man came around a corner hiding a handgun under a bandanna, and fired several shots, prosecutors said.

Grandy, who was shot once, pulled Hopkins out of the line of fire, but not before Hopkins was shot once in the left buttock. The gunman also shot at Grandy's partner, Officer Michael Coleman, but missed.

Ward was arrested the next day.

Yesterday, lawyers' arguments were similar to arguments at the last trial, in which the state's case relied on eyewitnesses.

"They got the wrong guy," Ward's lawyer, Brian G. Thompson, told the jury. "When a police officer is shot, there's tremendous pressure to solve the case and solve it quick. The police rushed to judgment."

But Assistant State's Attorney James Wallner said he is sure Ward was the shooter. Wallner is faced with proving his case despite witnesses who have recanted their stories.

"Mr. Hopkins is going to come in here and lie to you about the person who shot him," Wallner told the jury in his opening statement.

Hours later, Hopkins took the stand and said Ward is not the man who shot him. He said that the night of the shooting, police coerced him into saying Ward did it. The trial resumes today.

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