Defendant says 1 assailant beat Pasadena teen

Lone attacker on trial named in summer killing

April 12, 2005|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

One of six men accused of killing a Pasadena teenager in a fight last summer told authorities that a lone assailant delivered the apparently fatal attack after the victim was on the ground and said, "I've had enough."

The account, given by Joshua David Bradley, a defendant offered immunity from prosecution, implicates 19-year-old Jacob Fortney of manslaughter in the death of Noah Jamahl Jones, Fortney's lawyers said at a pretrial hearing yesterday. That version differs from another account that describes a group assault, they said.

Bradley said he and another defendant were not near Jones, Fortney's lawyers said. Bradley told officials that three other defendants had already backed up and gotten away from Jones when Fortney assaulted the youth, said David W. Fischer, one of Fortney's lawyers.

Fortney's lawyers gave the summary as they asked Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Joseph P. Manck to force prosecutors to settle on one version of what happened July 24. Fischer said he needs prosecutors to pick an account so the defense can map a strategy for the trial, scheduled to start May 5.

"We want to know what we are dealing with, and we are getting sandbagged," Fischer said.

Jones, 17, a rising senior at Northeast High School, died of head injuries. Members of the community are closely watching the case because of its racial component. Jones and his friends who arrived at the house where the incident occurred were black; those charged are white.

Prosecutors disputed the defense's descriptions yesterday, saying the relevant facts are that Jones died in a fight, and that Fortney is alleged to have participated.

"He sees [the differing accounts] as 180 degrees different. I see it as 0 degrees different," Deputy States Attorney William D. Roessler said.

Bradley, 20, who also told prosecutors that Jones had a hammer, is the only one to say that Jones had a weapon. Two of Jones' three companions are charged with bringing weapons - a handgun and stun gun.

Manck did not say when he would rule.

Besides Bradley and Fortney, of Pasadena, the other defendants are Scott E. Burton Jr., 19; Gregory M. Florentino, 21, also of Pasadena; David Michael George, 20, of Glen Burnie; and Richard Elbert McLeod, 19, of Chestertown. Only Fortney's trial has been scheduled.

Also yesterday, prosecutors withdrew a bid for a gag order, saying it was not needed as long as defense lawyers agreed not to discuss testimony. The request was made after newspapers, including The Sun, published secret grand jury testimony.

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