Trial opens in killing of Annapolis teen-ager

Defense claims defendant had no knowledge friend was going to shoot victim

March 27, 2003|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel County prosecutor told jurors yesterday that a teen-ager helped his friend kill another youth last year and was as guilty as the shooter, but the defense maintained that the teen who is being depicted as an accomplice had no idea his friend was armed.

Samuel Serio, lawyer for Larry Eugene Adams, told the jury that his 18-year-old client would have been a fool to have his head inches from the victim's head if he knew a third teen-ager was about to use a gun.

"He didn't know he was going to shoot him," he said on the opening day of the trial.

Kelly Poma, assistant state's attorney, asked the jury to hold Adams accountable for his actions on the afternoon of April 1.

"A person that aids and abets in a crime is just as guilty as the person who commits the crime," she said. "Accountability."

Adams, of Arnold, is accused of holding Dan Johnson Jr., 16, of Annapolis while Charles N. Allen, also of Annapolis, attacked him with a handgun. Adams is charged with second-degree murder and related counts.

Adams had no dispute with Johnson, though police and others say longstanding animosity existed between Johnson and Allen. Johnson died of a gunshot wound to the head in College Creek Terrace in Annapolis, a housing project near the city's historic district.

Allen was sentenced this month to serve 20 years in prison. He claimed his gun discharged accidentally when, with his finger on the trigger, he hit Johnson on the head with it.

Witnesses said yesterday that on the day of the incident Allen called to Johnson, who had just finished playing basketball nearby. After Johnson walked over to him, Allen shoved him, Johnson shoved back, and Allen shoved again.

Rondell Johnson, a friend of the victim, testified that he saw Adams grab Dan Johnson from behind and saw Allen pull out a handgun and hit Johnson with it. Moments later, Johnson was fatally shot.

Another witness, Monique Tyler, testified that Adams "jumped like he was shocked" when Allen used the gun.

In her opening statement, the prosecutor told jurors that Allen and Adams ran from the dying teen-ager. Witnesses picked them out of a crowd that gathered soon after as police and paramedics arrived.

The defense said the prosecutor would not be able to prove that Adams knew his friend had a gun.

Testimony in the trial before Circuit Judge Nancy Davis-Loomis is expected to last all week.

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