Shooting victim's father testifies

Defense attorney catches witness on crime details

Man, 20, on trial in city

Boy, 10, was shot in neck while playing outside

April 01, 2003|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

The only eyewitness to testify that he saw Perry Spain shoot a 10-year-old in the neck last year was proven wrong about some details of the crime during trial yesterday.

Rodney Harden, the victim's father, testified that he was "positive" he saw Spain shoot his son Tevin Davis with a 9 mm handgun on a dark summer night from 50 feet away.

But on the third day of the trial yesterday, Detective Donny Moses, the lead investigator in the case, said the only shell casings and bullet fragments found around the crime scene were from a .38-caliber gun.

"Did you ever tell [Harden] it wasn't a 9 millimeter?" Spain's lawyer, Warren A. Brown, asked the detective.

"No, I didn't get into the caliber of the weapon," Moses responded.

Spain, 20, is charged with attempted murder in the case. Tevin was shot in July as he played on the steps of his West Baltimore house.

Moses also testified yesterday that after Spain was arrested, the defendant vomited on an interview table when police asked him to imagine the child -- whom he referred to as "my little man" -- had died.

"During the interview, we asked Mr. Spain to suppose Tevin or one of the other little kids died," Moses testified. "At that time, he threw up."

On cross-examination, Brown chipped away at the credibility of the police and their witnesses, saying his client did not shoot Tevin.

Brown repeatedly grilled Harden, asking why it took him two weeks to come forward and identify Spain as the shooter, instead of naming Spain right after it happened.

Brown pointed out that the night of the shooting, Harden carried his son's limp body to the emergency room, begging him not to die.

"You were angry, livid that your son had been shot?" Brown asked.

"Yes," Harden answered.

"But you don't bother to tell police: `That's the man who shot my son'?" Brown asked.

"No, sir," Harden answered. "As I said, I was afraid for my family's safety."

The case lost a key witness in November, suffering what prosecutors called a "catastrophic loss" when Juan Wilson -- whom police described as a drug dealer -- was killed.

Tevin was shot about 9 p.m. on July 15 last year when he was playing with some of his friends outside. He was shot in the neck and the bullet exited his mouth.

Police say that a craps game had been going on nearby minutes before the shooting. Four men ran up and, at gunpoint, robbed the men playing dice.

Prosecutor Roger Harris said Spain was one of the men playing dice, and that he ran after the robbers, shooting at them. One of the bullets hit Tevin, he said.

The victim and defendant lived in the same West Fairmount Avenue neighborhood, according to testimony, and were friends before the shooting.

Days after the shooting, Spain was released on $35,000 bail, touching off a political battle about the city's criminal justice system.

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